"I don't know where we are McKay," John answered his radio, voice tinged with professional annoyance. "You're the one with the map."
Ronon growled, deep and threatening like the rumble of thunder.
"I don't know what to tell you. It's a room, just like every other one in this city – gold panels, Ancient carved into the walls, running down like Japanese – tiled floor, no windows, and a sliding access door."
"Hmmm...so why are you radioing me? I said find something interesting," came McKay's less-than-subservient response.
"Rodney." Teyla warned beside him, his eternal metre of what was appropriate.
John ignored the attitude and stepped closer to what had prompted him to radio McKay in the first place. "There's a device that lit up like a nightlight when I walked in."
"DON'T TOUCH IT!"
John winced at the squeal of painful feedback in his left ear.
"Just get over here!" He barked in his best team leader voice and cut comms.
"It's good advice, Sheppard." Ronon offered without halting his circuit of the room.
John could hear the trickle of laughter behind the other man's words and decided not to take the bait.
Blue light was pouring down and fanning out to bathe the central pedestal in a triangular shield, but nothing else had happened – as far as he could tell – since they'd entered the room. Just this gold octagonal table with a water lily at its centre.
He was sure those crystal petals were moving, opening with such slowness he couldn't be certain. It was like watching a bud, waiting for it to open then coming back later to see the changes; only John couldn't look away, couldn't move. Except, of course, for the way his hand was lifting from his side; reaching out with a mind of its own as John's long fingers cut the beam, and drifted through the pink sparkles the device was releasing from it's core.
Ronon was at his side, John knew, but the knowledge meant nothing as he calmly watched his own hand come to rest on the central petal.
One minute John was ignoring Ronon's tug on his arm in favour of the cool metallic sensation rushing his system, the next he was alone; no Ronon, no blue light, nothing but a lump of inactive crystal to show McKay – who was pounding on the other side of the closed door.
'When had that happened?'
"Colonel Sheppard, please admit us." Teyla's words, precise as ever, despite being yelled through alien metal.
"Turn on your radio, Sheppard." Mckay shouted, the door thankfully muffling the physicist's indignation as well.
John's gut was a mess of acid knots, and a fear he wouldn't give power to by acknowledging. The moment he let the rest of his team in, they'd see he was alone; and John didn't have any answers. He lost Ronon, and fuck if it didn't hurt like nothing he'd known before.
The door slid quietly open with a thought to reveal John's two remaining teammates; one worried but serene, the other beet red and on the edge of Hypoxia. McKay wasn't two seconds away from losing it. "Jeez Rodney, take a breath already."
Rodney huffed, stepped around John to get a look at the device.
"And this is why you made a fuss? I said different. This," Rodney gestured scathingly at the now deactivated water lily, "this looks just like all the other forty-thousand year old junk we've found."
"Well it's not doing its light show now."
"Light show? What light show? You touched it didn't you, and after I told you not to! You're like a two year old, should never be allowed out unsupervised. What did you touch?"
John reached out, an explanation on his lips when Mckay smacked his hand. "NOOO! Don't TOUCH it again! Use your words!"
John's eyebrow went up as the slapped hand rested on his hip, even for Mckay this lack of professional respect was out of line. "McKaaay."
Rodney looked up from his handheld at the warning Sheppard's exaggerated drawl had added to his name. "Yes, yes, sorry, Colonel Must-Touch-Strange-Shiny-Things."
John couldn't help the huff of laughter and just like that the tension broke and they were back to team, until...
"Colonel Sheppard, where is Ronon?"
John froze and Rodney looked up, eyes as wide as the O his mouth was making, the tools of his trade forgotten in his hands.
The silence was thick enough it would've taken one of Ronon's Satedan blades to pierce it. John swallowed, his throat tight as he whispered, "I don't know."
It was like hitting the play button, everyone sprang back into action. Teyla was at his side, small palm resting on his bicep in questioning comfort, while McKay bombarded him for specifics.
When had the door closed, when had the device activated, what had he touched, when exactly had he noticed Ronon was gone? Had Ronon vanished or faded away; or had he simply wandered off? This last was accompanied with the patented eye roll McKay saved especially for conversations that involved Ronon. He'd used it continuously during the tunnel search for Michael's first edition hybrids.
"I wasn't in control," John ignored McKay's snort. "My hand reached out, I felt cold in my veins, not unlike using the chair – only stronger; Ronon was yankin' on me, then he was gone, and the thing shut down."
Teyla's hand squeezed tighter but she said nothing. After all there was nothing she could say, that John wasn't already berating himself with. At least when the Wraith had dumped Ronon back on Sateda, they'd had his transmitter frequency to chase.
"Rodney!" John said on a rush of relief. They were still on Atlantis, so Ronon couldn't've gone far, could he?
"I'm on it," Rodney assured without looking up from his frantic tapping, "should be...up in a...now!"
John heard the bleep from the laptop and breathed deeper; Ronon was alive and still on base.
"What?" John lunged to see the screen.
"I set the search parameters to cycle out from this room-"
"And!" John growled impatiently as Rodney drifted off from verbal to internal thought processes.
"Oh and the life signs detector is reading four signals."
"What? In here?" John raised a sceptical eyebrow and folded his arms across his chest. "Clearly there's a glitch."
"No!" McKay huffed, "I've got it working perfectly."
"Are you saying that Ronon is still in this room?" John appreciated Teyla's attempt but it was obvious she didn't believe McKay any more than he did.
"That's what I'm saying; it's what the readings are saying. Conan is in this room. Well maybe not exactly this room..."
And just like that, they'd lost McKay to that scariest of places; his mind. The place where ass-saving miracles came from – though John'd never, under any circumstances, ever admit it.
Teyla had moved off, taking careful step after careful step around the room's octagonal circumference, eyes absorbing even the tiniest detail. John opted to follow her example, mind in overdrive as he walked the opposite direction. 'C'mon Chewie, give us a sign, let us know where you are, so McKay can work a miracle.'
SG-1 was always losing one of its members to something or other; each time crazier than the last, and John found his mind wandering to each mission report he'd read, anxious in his search for a way to bring Ronon back. John needed Ronon back.
"Invisibility?" John suggested as he continued his course, hands firmly in his pockets.
"No, don't you think he'd have made some kind of attempt to contact us by now. Y'know, whacking me on the back; shooting you."
John didn't miss Rodney's smirk at the idea. In fact he'd be good taking the hit if it meant they knew where Ronon was – one step closer than they were right now. "Parallel universe?"
"I doubt his signal would reach us." Rodney answered without looking up. "If you're not going to offer credible suggestions could you not..."
'Again with the stopping.' It was actually more annoying than his tirades.
"What is it Rodney?" Teyla asked from John's left, making him jump; he hadn't noticed her still moving. There was a lot he wasn't noticing since walking in this room.
"I've been running a search of the database for anything that tells us what the Ancients used this room for. At first I thought some kind of invisibility defence against the Wraith, or perhaps transportation to another plain of existence adjacent to this one..."
"I just suggested those!" John grumbled, and Teyla smiled at him in understanding.
"Yes, and I rightly dismissed them as ridiculous." Rodney agreed before turning his attention back to the scrolling data on his laptop screen.
John was about to – he had no idea – when Teyla, seeing a confrontation was imminent, spoke up. "What is your conclusion Rodney?"
"Huh?" Apparently Teyla had an ability to get through to McKay, that neither Ronon, nor John possessed. "Oh yes, Microscopic Molecular Deconstruction."
John choked on his own saliva, coughed, then wheezed a breath as Teyla helpfully pounded on his back. "A shrink ray?! You're telling me Ronon's now the size of a shell casing?" John's fear had him advancing on McKay before he registered the movement.
"John!" Teyla's shout stilled him immediately.
'Oh shit!' Bile burned in the back of his throat. 'With all their walking around, had they killed Ronon under foot? Had he lost Ronon for good?'
"He's not road kill." Rodney sighed; for once his talent for reading John's mind was a welcome relief. "He's staying in one place, which shows some intelligence."
Ronon growled, though it did little good from his position at the base of the table's pedestal. The safest place considering his team was trampling every square mile of tiled floor in the room looking for an invisible him.
As ridiculous as it seemed, even to him, McKay's theory was the right one. At four inches tall he was invisible against the room's décor.
Sheppard rumbled like thunder above and Ronon's chest swelled with pride. Sheppard knew him, was saying how Ronon wouldn't stand out where he could be stepped on. 'Wouldn't be long now.'
"Well, that leaves only one place, does it not?" Teyla interrupted the glares the two remaining men were throwing at each other and crouched below the table top. "Ronon?"
Ronon fired his blaster, its pathetic pops doing little to draw attention to him. He could live with the embarrassment though, if it meant they'd find him without him having to risk death by combat boot. He fired off another few rounds, the yellow glow hopefully large enough to spark attention.
"Listen!" John ordered and thankfully Rodney shut up.
There it was again, the faintest infinitesimal pop, heard only by John's subconscious. He dropped down, temple narrowly missing the table edge, to find Ronon giving him the you're an idiot, you know that right glare.
"I've got him!" John yelled up to Rodney who was peering over his shoulder.
Ronon clapped his hands over his ears and glared some more.
"Uh, sorry buddy," John was dizzy with relief; just having Ronon with them made anything possible. Sure Ronon was the size of the king in Rodney's chess set, but John didn't doubt McKay would have a solution. He better have.
"Want a lift?" John whispered and Ronon felt the brush of his breath like a warm summer breeze as he stepped away from the table, and onto the open palm Sheppard held out for him. When he'd though about how it'd feel to touch Sheppard's hand, he hadn't imagined this. Who would?
The hit of vertigo was terrifying and Ronon found himself gripping tightly to the rough flesh of Sheppard's callouses to avoid sliding off.
"Easy Chewie, I've got you."
The amusement in his CO's voice pissed him off. When Ronon was full height again, he'd stun Sheppard on principle. The image of Sheppard sprawled out at Ronon's feet was a very appealing one.
Rodney wanted to laugh as he watched Sheppard shift his thumb for Ronon to hold as he stepped down to the table's smooth surface; but he knew the retribution would outweigh any immediate thrill, so he focused on updating his team.
"According to the database this room housed yet another abysmal idea," Rodney waved his hands in a gesture that said what he thought about the long dead ascended beings. "That idea being the Ancients would populate a planet with miniature humans and the eco-system of that planet would have a far longer life span, than a planet sustaining full size humans."
"So why was Ronon shrunk instead of me, I was the one who touched the damn thing!?" John asked, his patience with McKay's storytelling abilities growing thinner the longer the explanation went on.
"Yes, and how many times have I told you to keep your hands to yourself? Kirk." Rodney jibed, secretly enjoying the rhythm of their habitual banter. "I'm assuming it's because an Ancient was required to operate the device, so your gene protected you. Whereas Conan here, wasn't so lucky."
Ronon growled a squeak of indignation that made everyone smile.
"Are there instructions that will help return Ronon to his full height?" Teyla asked as she turned and looked around the room, trying to read the lists of Ancient-engraved panels lining the walls.
"If we're lucky, and we all know how often that happens." Rodney snarked, but his fingers were already tapping furiously in three new windows. "And don't touch anything else while I do this."
"Yes Mom." John griped, his trademark smirk firmly in place.
"Kirk." Rodney shot back automatically, his mind focused on his latest miracle.
Ronon stared at the incomprehensible data scroll on the building sized laptop, and collapsed heavily on the control key.
"Hey! Watch it. It's your life I'm trying to save here, Conan." Rodney barked out of fear, and instantly regretted his outburst when Ronon covered his ears.
"Are you well, Ronon?" Teyla asked, her volume barely above a whisper to the two normal sized humans. "Perhaps we should take him to the infirmary, Doctor Kell-"
"No," John interrupted. "God no! Could you imagine him there? They'd lose him for sure, or-" John didn't want to contemplate that scenario, let alone voice it. "You radioed Sam?"
"Yes, when you went off comms and we couldn't access this room." Rodney confirmed. "She's sealed off the surrounding corridors and is waiting for me to report in."
John tapped his radio onto the command channel and started speaking. "Sam, we've located Ronon. He's been miniaturized by our new shrink ray device. McKay's found a reversal program in the database, so until he's up and running Ronon'll be with me."
John felt everyone's eyes on him as they listened to his side of the conversation, their radios cut out of the transmission.
"No, no infirmary, think how dangerous that'd be." John waited, heart in his mouth, for Sam's agreement. The thought of Ronon caught in the chaos made him sick. He'd take Ronon back to his quarters, where the only danger lay in John being over protective; not four inch Ronon being knocked off a bench by a busy nurse and trampled underfoot.
"Got it." John tapped his ear and looked at an open-mouthed McKay, and a silent watchful Teyla.
"Find the reversal program Rodney, please."
Rodney nodded, stunned to silence by the look in Sheppard's eyes. He'd suspected, had shared his thoughts with Teyla, who'd agreed that they should say nothing; not until either Sheppard or Ronon did. But it was something else seeing the proof before him, in the way Sheppard was gently helping Ronon into one of the pockets on his TAC vest.
"We'll be in my quarters."
"We will contact you when we know anything." Teyla nodded as John strode from the room without a backward glance.
"But I don't have anything," Rodney croaked his confession. "The database is coming up with a thousand hits, all of them equally useless as the last!"
"Just breathe Rodney, the solution is here somewhere. I shall stay and assist you however I can."
Rodney doubted how much help Teyla could be, but he was grateful for her presence at his side nonetheless.
"Thank you," he whispered and started collecting his things, "we can work in my lab."
The trip to Sheppard's quarters had taken forever. His CO-turned-protector had deemed using the transporters as not a good idea, had taken the short two mile pierside run at a Sunday stroll, and the thirty-seven flights of stairs one at a time. Ronon was tired and sick of being in a damn pocket!
"We made it." John whispered his relief and grinned bashfully at Ronon's scowl. "Overkill, I know, but..."John couldn't finish that out loud, instead he put his finger along the top of the pocket, and once Ronon had hooked his arms over it, lifted the man free; his body dangling ridiculously.
"Sofa, or bed?" John asked, and felt his cheeks burn as what he'd said sank in. He'd wanted Ronon in his bed since forever, but somehow he'd never fantasised this particular set up.
Ronon's own cheeks blushed, though he doubted Sheppard would notice, so he sat down in the centre of Sheppard's palm.
"Sofa, it is." John chuckled, yanked a clean tee one-handed from his dresser and headed for the white leather sofa.
"It'll stop you sliding," John defended as Ronon stared up at him from the soft enveloping folds of black cotton. "A blanket too, if you wanna catch some zees."
It was unbelievably personal to be feeling Sheppard's clothing against his skin; the scent of laundry powder overpowering any trace of its owner, at this size. Ronon still had to fight the urge to snuggle into it though.
John had stripped out of his gear, unbuttoned his over shirt, and was trying not to radio Rodney every few seconds. Both he and Ronon were sitting on the sofa, the chill of the evening breeze playing its teasing fingers through John's hair.
"Gonna turn in," John muttered when the tension was more than he could handle. "You good?"
Ronon glared but said nothing, not that Sheppard could've heard anything but squeaks anyway.
"Right, sorry," John huffed and two strides later he was sprawled on his bed; asleep before his head had hit the worn fabric of his pillow.
Sheppard's snores were a rumbly comfort as Ronon shifted and wriggled, voluminous cotton trapping him beneath its weight as he tried to find a position that didn't make his hackles rise. No matter how he lay, he felt vulnerable, so it was hours of watching the moons rise and set before he finally fell asleep with his cheek snuggled against John's chest...
Filtered sunlight woke John with a start and the fading echo of Ronon's name on his lips. He jerked out from the tangle of bedding around his legs and was standing in front of the sofa before he was fully awake. It wasn't until his radio bleeped an alert in his ear, that he realised he'd worn it to bed.
"Sheppard," he answered, voice whisper-soft with the rasp of sleep.
"Sheppard, great. Now listen, Teyla and I have been up all night..." John knew the deliberate pause was when he was supposed to praise Rodney's diligence and garner sympathy, but all-nighters were the physicist's default setting, so he waited silently. "...and there's no reversal program – but before you do your passive-aggressive routine, you should know it's temporary. This was an experiment to test the theory. The participants would return to their original size after a twenty-four hour period, and report on their experiences, so that alterations could be made to the project's infrastructure. Sheppard are you listening to me?"
"Yep," John answered automatically, but his attention was solely focused on the transformation happening in front of him.
As if with the progression of the sun the Ronon that John had so carelessly lost, returned to him; still sound asleep. His face was nuzzled in the fabric of John's tee as if he were lying in John's arms, long leather-clad leg fallen over the side of the sofa.
"Ronon should be due to transform any moment now." McKay informed from his lab, unaware of just how beautiful a sight John was seeing. "Sheppard!"
"He's back," John replied softly, "still sleeping but back to normal."
"I'll be there in five." Rodney declared, but before John could find words to protest Teyla cut in on the transmission.
"Please inform us when Ronon is up to receiving visitors, Colonel."
"Sure," John appreciated her quick thinking but he couldn't spare her anything; Ronon was staring up at him, soft brown eyes wide and inviting.
John tapped out his radio, tossed it toward his desk, and sank to his knees at Ronon's side. "You okay?"
"Better now." Ronon rumbled, words deep and thick in John's chest as the guilt of never hearing them again fell away; leaving him light-headed with relief. "Come here."
John leaned in slowly, unsure, cautious despite everything, despite the certainty he read in every line of Ronon's full-sized body.
Strong arms circled John's shoulders, their weight all he needed to convince him as Ronon pulled him over his balance point to sprawl over a hard chest; hips falling neatly between splayed thighs, as Ronon growled gently in the space between their panting breaths. "I said. Come. Here."
John went; and the taste of Satedan heat on his lips was his just reward.
Summary: Sheppard touches something...
Categories: Slash Pairings > Ronon Dex/Sheppard, Slash Pairings > Ronon Dex/Other, Slash Pairings > Sheppard/Other
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Ronon Dex, Teyla Emmagan
Genres: Angst, First Time, Friendship, Humour, Romance, Team
Chapters: 1 [Table of Contents]
Word count: 3752; Completed: Yes
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Ronon Dex, Teyla Emmagan
Genres: Angst, First Time, Friendship, Humour, Romance, Team
Chapters: 1 [Table of Contents]
Word count: 3752; Completed: Yes