Summary: Five things Ronon never told anyone about Sateda. Ronon Dex/Evan Lorne
Written for the LJ sg1_five_things community.
Major Lorne had just about had a heart attack when Ronon asked to shower with him in the community locker room. Ronon hadn't meant it sexually, men and women on Sateda often bathed in groups and the gentle touching and caresses associated with bathing were tactile reminders that they were alive and not alone and that people cared about them.
Ronon missed bathing with others and he could replay in his head the last time he had had a group bath on Sateda; it had been full of playfulness and sensual touch and the celebration of being young and alive.
He wondered if he should tell Major Lorne why he had asked then decided against it, figuring it wouldn't make any difference.
Ronon listened to Sheppard stammer his way through explaining something he called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
Like so many other Earth-born things, it made no sense. On Sateda it was expected that before a person married that they would have had lovers of both sexes to be sure that the person they ultimately choose to marry would truly meet all their lifelong needs.
As he left a red-faced Sheppard and walked to his quarters, he grinned thinking about the first girl he had been with, Savun, a blonde beauty with enormous breasts and wide hips. She had been a lot of fun and they had both enjoyed themselves.
His grin turned bittersweet as he thought about the first man he had been with. Short and stocky Grioc had a good-natured wit and a deadly accurate sniper aim. He and Ronon had come together after losing several men in an ambush, their coupling had been frantic and had a hard edge to it that left both men raw physically and emotionally. He had died soon after in another ambush, and soon after that Ronon met Melena.
Sometimes when he thought back on Grioc and Melena he realized that neither would have meet all his life's needs. He needed the strength and hard body of Grioc but the compassion and intelligence of Melena.
Ronon thought about explaining how things were done on Sateda but decided against it, afraid that Sheppard would share it with Major Lorne and his Satedan ways would again be misunderstood.
Rodney plunked his lunch tray down across from Ronon and sat down. Ronon's own lunch was finished and the tray shoved off to the side as Ronon slowly wrote on a small notepad. Rodney glanced over and took in the sweeping loops and wrote it off as doodling.
What Rodney saw as doodling however was the graceful looping letters of the formal Satedan alphabet. Ronon had been taught the lettering when he was a child. His family had steered him towards the military but every child was encouraged to find an artistic outlet and when he was about nine he discovered poetry. He wasn't necessarily a good poet by any measure, but he enjoyed it and he enjoyed the actual art of forming the old style letters on paper.
He knew McKay probably thought it was gibberish and didn't even consider explaining.
A while later Ronon was walking out of the mess hall and didn't realize he had dropped his notepad as he walked. Lorne picked it up and called his name. Ronon turned and walked back to where Lorne was standing looking at the intricate letters he written. When Lorne handed him back the notepad, he asked pleasantly, trying to make conversation, "They're some sort of letters aren't they?"
Ronon swallowed hard and mumbled, "Yeah."
"Is all the writing on Sateda like that?"
"No," Ronon replied and gestured behind him before continuing, "I gotta go."
He turned and left without waiting for reply, and completely missing the little frown on Lorne's face.
Teyla and Ronon stood quietly as the members of the expedition from the United States marked with reverent ceremony what they called "Memorial Day". Later on, Ronon and Teyla compared thoughts on the occasion, neither of their peoples having a similar event.
Ronon thought long and hard about the men and women he had served with and lost. They, too, deserved to be honored and remembered but the Earth ways were not the Satedan ways. Earth people lost comrades, friends, family, and they grieved for a time then moved on. They let their lives go on just like those they had lost were never there. Satedans didn't grieve, didn't accept loss like that. Ronon carried every person that had ever mattered to him, with him.
Ronon was still contemplating it all as he sat out on a far pier drinking beer alone that night. He was surprised when Lorne joined him without waiting for an invitation, his own six pack in hand.
Lorne rambled on about how back on Earth that the holiday was celebrated with picnics and parades, excuses really for friends and family to get together and reminisce about those that weren't with them any more. Ronon could have told him that every meal was like that on Sateda, but he didn't, instead he just let a slightly drunk and unusually somber Lorne ramble on about people he had served with that had been killed in the line of duty.
The list had been long and Ronon made sure a very drunk Lorne got safely back to his quarters to sleep it off. Lorne was about to swipe his hand over the lock to his quarters when he looked at Ronon, his brow furrowed and said, "I should have asked you about people you've lost. I'm sorry."
Ronon just shrugged, and before he could stop it from falling from his lips, he said, "Next time."
Lorne grinned at him and gestured with his index finger, "Next time. I'm going to hold you to that."
As he made his way to his own quarters, Ronon was trying to figure out why that would make the other man so happy.
Courtship on Sateda had a definite ebb and flow. There were arranged introductions and the meeting of each other's family. Meals and evenings were shared with friends and family alike, and whole days could be spent lounging in a bathhouse laughing and teasing and learning each other's skin.
Ronon knew all steps, knew the proper order but he didn't share them with anyone, didn't think anyone on Atlantis would care, or would understand. He was wrong though, and found that out when Lorne showed up at the door to his quarters with another six pack of beer and a tray full of hot food from the mess.
Lorne shoved the beer at Ronon and walked past him without waiting to be asked inside. He put the tray down on the small table and began uncovering the food. Casually Lorne asked, "Did I ever tell you my mother's an artist?"
Ronon left out two beers and put the rest in the small refrigerator in the corner before walking over to the table and sitting down. "No."
Lorne pushed a plate piled high with food towards Ronon and sat down himself. "Well she is. Back on Earth there are these things called communes, where people with similar interests or beliefs live and share food and money and stuff, sort of a small community. Anyway, when I was a kid we lived in an artist's commune for a few years. I learned a lot about people and love and sex. It was all very open and... honest I guess is a good word. No one was ashamed to show affection for another person, it didn't matter if it was a man or woman. If you were attracted to someone and the feeling was mutual that was all that mattered."
Ronon chewed and nodded.
Lorne licked his bottom lip nervously and continued, "I've known since I've been ten years old that I was attracted to men and not women, but it's not something I can be open about and you caught me off guard when you asked to shower with me because I have to work very hard to keep myself out of trouble with my superiors and I was afraid I had slipped up somehow."
"Cause of that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" thing Sheppard told me about?"
"Exactly. I am attracted you, Ronon, and I very much wanted to say yes to that shower. But... but I want you to know that it's not just about sex for me. Yes, I'm am attracted to you, but I'm also very interested in you. I want to know how you grew up and what your family was like and what kind of school you went to, and anything else you want to tell me."
Ronon looked at Lorne for a minute then grinned, this he knew how to do, he knew all the steps. He took a quick sip of beer and grinned as he picked up his fork and poked at his food. "My mother was a baker..."
A long and leisurely dinner later where Ronon had spoken more than he had all total in the past few years, Ronon stood and held out his hand to Lorne. "Wanna take that shower?"
Lorne grinned, Ronon had explained all about the bathhouses on Sateda in detail. He stood and slipped his hand in Ronon's and replied, "Thought you'd never ask."