Everything was falling through and the weight of their eyes were on him. He was used to being in command but it didn't stop John feeling in over his head. Woolsey had told him to stay, like he was the man's pet yorkie, and half a day later John had lost McKay and Jackson, the gate had blown up and taken two thirds of the gate room with it.
It could have been worse. When the smoke cleared they were all still standing.
John felt each and every one of the disinfected cuts on his back, his head in overdrive while everyone he knew was waiting on a cue; waiting for his orders. They'd done good. They always did. Their quick-thinking minds tested time and again; pulling off the impossible with eight seconds left in overtime.
Only this time, John had nothing. Even Teyla was silent, and watchful. The great city of the Ancients, reduced to running off nine laptops and a mark IX generator. John offered her an apologetic shrug and turned to face his down-sized team.
"Five bucks to anyone who comes up with a way to contact the Daedalus."
It wasn't a solution, but John felt the tension ease a fraction. The thought of Ronon had John's heart beating double time. At least his boyfriend was safe. Boyfriend. John felt his mouth curve into his trademark smirk. It'd been a long time since he had attached that rank to anyone; even in his own head.
"Got an idea, Banks?"
"No, but I am being hailed by the Daedalus."
John rubbed a hand through his hair, hiding his relief in the familiar gesture, and told Banks to put them on the large screen. His heart dropped into his boots when the static morphed into Todd standing on Daedalus' bridge, with an ashen Woolsey at his side.
John looked, eyes darting to the monitor's edges, searching into the 2D background for a glimpse of brown leather and dreads. Fuck! No Ronon. Todd had taken over the Daedalus and Ronon wasn't where John could see for himself that he was alive. There was no way Ronon would've surrendered peacefully without John there to make him.
Teyla was speaking; but John hadn't heard a word. He waved a hand and garbled an order to pause the transmission, giving himself time to fight down the mess of emotions wrestling for supremacy in his chest. Ronon was on his mind. Truth be told, he always was. John breathed deep, his hands splayed on his hips to stop them flailing about. He needed to focus on what those around him were saying.
If it hadn't been happening to him right now, John would've scoffed at the comedy of errors life in Pegasus kept serving up. Todd was in control of Earth's only ship. A ship capable of taking the Wraith straight to the biggest feeding ground they'd ever known, along with two-hundred inflight meals to tide them over till they got there. McKay and Jackson were God knew where, and knowing Rodney the way he did, John doubted the scientists were quietly waiting for rescue; a rescue that wouldn't be coming anytime soon.
Atlantis was crippled. And Ronon...
John would be forever grateful to Larin for thinking he'd know what was going on, and sending a ship. Perhaps she had some kind of telepathic superpower.
Ronon would've grumbled at that, eyebrows drawing together like an encroaching storm as he yanked John into his arms, possessive and growly, and too hot for words. John shook off the fission of heat buzzing along his nerves at the thought. He had Woolsey and the others to save. A task made a whole lot easier now that he had a ship.
John Sheppard stood like a lone island in a tsunami of chaos. The hectic tide of excited Daedalus crew members and Lanteans alike brushed past him; relieved to be back in the comparative safety of the city. Atlantis all lit up against a background of inky purple sky in welcome. There were places he should be and things he should be doing, but John couldn't move. A cool wind rushed at him from the dark ocean beyond the sulphur-bright landing lights of the pier. It tugged on his hair and sneaked under his shirt to tickle his ribs, chilling him to the core.
Ronon bellowed, his eyes darting to every face as he ran from Daedalus across the crowded pier. Atlantis had been attacked, and blown up, all while he'd been stuck on a stupid ship with scientists, medical staff and bureaucrats who were stupid enough to think any deal with the Wraith could be successful. He'd left John alone; had abandoned his lover, and left his back unprotected. Ronon would never have forgiven himself if...
John lifted his head. The sound of his name buffeted on the wind like a cruel tease. He saw him before Ronon had spotted him in the crowd. John grinned; a bubble of relief caught in his throat. Ronon had him in his crosshairs now, was moving through their colleagues as if they were skittles and Ronon the bowling ball.
In the space between one haggard breath and the next, Ronon was there; tall and looming, and so goddamned fucking beautiful he made John's eyes sting to look at him.
John didn't care who was watching, just melted into Ronon's heat as his boyfriend crushed John into hard muscle; strong arms around his waist and shoulders, huge hands splayed to touch as much of John as Ronon could reach.
"Leave you alone for one minute." Ronon rumbled against John's ear.
John shuddered, knees weak with relief. Ronon held him tighter, kept him on his feet.
"Y'know, while the cat's away n'all that." John ducked his face into the hollow of Ronon's throat and breathed in the scent he'd grown addicted to in an embarrassingly short space of time.
"I'm not a cat."
John chuckled and elected not to tell Ronon that he was purring like one.
"John?" Ronon's arms slid loose from John's back so he could lift John's chin; uncertainty and caution swimming in the depths of soft brown eyes. "I want to kiss you. Will you let me?"
For the first time since Ronon had bellowed his name, John was aware of where he was. There were hundreds of witnesses; each one capable of ruining him, of separating him from Ronon forever. But John suspected the truth of his relationship with Ronon had been an open secret for a while now, and nothing had happened. Nothing had been said to either of them, and Earth was a few million light years away. Besides, John's plans for his future had changed the moment he'd come to in a cave, tied back to back with Teyla, and staring into the wary eyes of the man he wanted to spend the rest of his existence getting to know.
John nodded, face flushing hot and mouth dry as he lifted his mouth to meet Ronon's; heart pounding in his chest. With this one kiss, John was declaring to everyone that he was Ronon's and that Ronon was his. And everyone better keep their hands off! John tugged on ropy dreads, hauled his boyfriend closer, and deepened their kiss.
Ronon moaned into John's mouth, filled him with heat and want, making him lose sight of the ground and everything else that wasn't Ronon. John drank him in, thirsted for more and slipped a hand under heavy leather; searched beneath coffee linen for smooth hot skin, splayed his fingers across the small of Ronon's back. The arms around him tightened a crushing squeeze to steal the last of his breath. John stretched up onto his toes in search of more, when Ronon finally gasped for air.
"I thought..." He confessed, Ronon's hand using John's holster to pull their hips together; keeping John from escaping.
"I know." Ronon growled, embarrassed. "Same. Heard about gates and..."
John dug his fingertips into Ronon's nape, dreads scratchy over the back of his hand, and pulled Ronon in for another kiss. But he shook his head when Ronon tried to boost him up, hand around John's thigh like Ronon wanted him to wrap his legs around him. Kissing was one thing. Declaring the military commander was gay and in love with his Satedan Specialist was okay too. But climbing said specialist like a tree and grinding into the hard length of his massive cock, while standing on a crowded pier, probably wasn't the best idea Ronon had ever suggested. No matter how much the thought appealed to John right then. It seemed years of keeping it in the closet had given John an exhibitionist streak that demanded exploration.
"Easy, big guy." John leaned close and grazed the pad of his thumb over the swollen curve of Ronon's lower lip. "Have to save that for later."
Ronon grumbled but slid his hand back up to settle low on John's spine, thumb sliding in the fine sweat beading there.
"Colonel Sheppard?" John gave an inward sigh and turned from Ronon's hold to face Woolsey. "I'd like to see you in my office, in fifteen minutes."
"I'll be there."
Richard Woolsey nodded, looked up at Ronon's thundercloud expression, and nodded again before tugging on the hem of his jacket and striding off.
"Want me to come?" Ronon asked as both men turned, leaving the unloading of the Daedalus' cargo to the experts.
"Nah, I've got it." John checked his hip against Ronon's. "Probably wants to tell me off for blowing up the gate room after he specifically told me not to."
Ronon nodded, letting John have the lie.
He may have been over his head for a minute there, but when it came to Ronon and what they had together – what they would continue to have – John would defend them until his last breath.
After all, Ronon was his boyfriend.
Summary: Ronon's on the Daedalus, McKay and Jackson are kidnapped, the gate blew up, and Atlantis is crippled. It's safe to say John's in over his head.