The camp is small, against a high, insurmountable natural cliff face. At least, it looks natural now. It might not have been, thousands of years ago. But as long as it is a wall, and not a fascia concealing a laboratory, a land of magical ageing or a food-storage unit for Wraith, then Ronon doesn’t care what it was once. It is a wall now.
It is a little cold against his back, but it gives him the best view, in case anything should approach. Old habits die hard.
“Right,” says Sheppard noisily, slapping his hands on his thighs and rising. “I’m going to consult the jumper’s navigation system again.”
“Are you going to finish that?” Rodney asks, pointing a blunt utensil at the mess-tin in Sheppard’s hands. The colonel does his usual disparaging commentary as he hands over the remains of his meal to Rodney. He does it every time, but every time he hands it over. It makes no sense, but Ronon doesn’t care about that either.
“Ah… do you want some, too, or are you not hungry…? I know not everyone likes to pick at food other people have been eating but you… well. It isn’t that you seem hungry, so much as you eat a lot. Not a lot for someone of your size – I mean height, but…”
Ronon stares in the face of the babble, slightly amused. This is new.
“No. Sure. I can always take more,” he says, shifting slightly forwards and then leaning out with his own tin. Rodney tilts Sheppard’s, scooping some of the indistinct squish into Ronon’s. It isn’t nice, but it’s better than some of the things he’s had to eat in the past. And more is always good.
“Thanks,” he says, after a pause. Manners seem to have slipped, over the years, too.
“It was… nothing, yes, nothing.” The reply is a mutter, quickly drowned by food. Cold, now, and resembling in texture the goop his people used to feed their infants. But it seems to make McKay happy, so who is he to say?
“I was… well. You never seem to talk – you do talk, yes, when you have to, but you don’t seem to talk when you… don’t have to.”
Ronon grunts slightly, leaning in closer to his tin, hair falling either side of his face.
“…so. I thought you might like to. Talk, that is. And, I just wanted to say,” whilst gesturing with the dull spoon, waving it back and forth energetically to illustrate each word. Some of the goop dropped onto his boot. McKay didn’t seem to notice. “…if you ever feel you want to talk, just… for company… I thought with us being on the same team and working together it might… help.”
“What do you want me to say?” Ronon asks, lifting his head up to look at the other man from under his brow.
“That’s… see, this is my point. It isn’t what I want you to say – well, in a sense it is. It’s more… friends talk. About anything. And if you ever felt the need, or wanted to ask me anything, I just wanted to say... you can.”
“Right.” Scoop. Goop. Swallow.
“Okay. Strong, silent type. That’s fine too. It just makes me a bit nervous because all you do is eat and shoot and… the thing with the gun and the sword… Right. Forget I asked.” With a clatter of cutlery, Rodney starts to rise.
“Wait,” Ronon says, moving so suddenly he isn’t aware of it, half-standing, tin in one hand, Rodney’s wrist in the other, fingers curling into the other man’s palm. Pause. Release. The action automatic, familiar, like the slight hint of fear in Rodney’s eyes.
It takes him a long moment to sit back down again, rearranging his legs beneath him in a comfortable fashion. To avoid the awkwardness.
“Thanks,” he says, gruffly. “For the food.”
Rodney nods, the fingers of the hand Ronon grabbed running reflexively over one another. “That’s…that’s fine. Really. Any time.”
He’s talking less than he would, but the fear seems to be fading.
Ronon nods. “We should join up,” he suggests.
“Join… ah, yes, of course.”
Ronon stands first, then offers his arm. Rodney pauses, takes it, then stands. He smiles a little awkward thanks before he moves, pulling down his jacket at the side. Ronon waits a moment, to give him space, and follows.
Talk. Talk, the man says. Ronon wasn’t very talkative before the Wraith killed almost all of his people, experimented on him, then chased him about for years. And there’s little changed now that would make him so.
What to say to someone like McKay – someone from a culture completely different from his own, someone who still needs help when stripping his gun and who talks about scientific terms Ronon has never even heard of…
Ronon shrugs and upends the tin, letting the rest of the mulch seep out before dousing it with his waterbottle. Then Teyla moves past him, a gentle hand on his back, with footsteps deliberately audible to put him at ease. She smiles at him as she passes, then greets the others in the puddlejumper as she goes in.
Inside, McKay and Sheppard are bickering again. He shakes his head and takes his seat, simply waiting until they arrive. Arrive somewhere he can do something. Something that will help.
The ship is quiet, but not silent, and she hums as they rise.
Summary: Ronon never talks. Rodney always does. For noorie. Kindly beta'd by Alyse. And yes, the title is a bad pun, but a fitting one, too.