Winter Sunlight

SGA fic: Safe Harbor

This is fic #5 for ibarw week, and the last one I have written. Shamelessly self-indulgent h/c, what else?

Title: Safe Harbor
Word Count: 1200
Season: Season 3; spoilers for "Sateda"
Summary: Gen. Ronon and Rodney in a blizzard.

The snow fell heavily for three days, covering tracks and drawing a veil across the world. By the morning of the fourth, they were out of food, and Ronon went hunting.

He'd thought McKay was asleep, but the tightly wrapped bundle of silvery emergency blankets stirred, and a tuft of brown hair poked out the top, along with one fever-bright blue eye. "You'll never find your way back," Rodney rasped.

"Yeah I will," and the snow swallowed him, muffling whatever protest Rodney had made.

It was slow going, slogging through snow above his knees. Away from the trees, the drifts were bad -- some higher than his head. He stayed to the shelter of the forest wherever possible, using the line-of-sight travel technique that he'd been taught in his military survival courses on Sateda: line up one landmark with another (in this case, trees), make the second landmark and fix another beyond it. Looking back every once in a while to make sure that he could find and remember the previous tree, he let his trail spool behind him while the wind and snow silently erased his tracks.

It was at times like this -- sliding from tree to tree, becoming one with the forest as he'd been taught long ago -- that the past and present slid together, and he had to remind himself that he was no longer a Runner, no longer a man without a world, without a future.

Without friends.

It surprised him, just a little, to realize that there was no doubt in his mind that Sheppard and Teyla would find them. It might take awhile, but they would be found. He had learned that lesson on lost Sateda, when Sheppard and the others had done the impossible and brought him home. The snow was probably making it nearly impossible for the searchers, but once the snow stopped, eventually, Sheppard would find them.

All he had to do -- all they had to do -- was wait.

He feared, but not for himself.

Using strips of leather cut from the trailing edge of his coat, he set snares along some of the more obvious game trails, quietly castigating himself for not having done so before the heavy snow began. If he'd thought ahead, he might already have dinner waiting in a trap. Still, he startled a small creature from the shelter of an overhanging evergreen; as it streaked through the curtain of snow, he whipped out a throwing blade. The knife went home, severing the small animal's spine. The limp body scarcely filled his palm, but he could make stew of it.

A shot from his blaster might have been more certain, but he didn't know when he'd next have an opportunity to charge it. There were large animals on this world; he'd seen a herd of large beasts with spreading antlers in one brief, dizzying glimpse before impact. Once the snow let up, he'd go hunt them, and get enough meat to last himself and Rodney for months. The creatures' fur would be a plus, because the reflective silvery blankets of the Atlanteans weren't able to reflect enough heat on this cold world. Thoughtfully, he ran his hand through the rodent's dense, silky fur. If he could collect enough of these, he might make a blanket to serve them until he could bring down something better.

That this was his problem to solve, he did not bother to question. If they'd been confronted with a problem of technology, it would have been McKay's province, and Ronon would have stayed out of the way. That was what teams did.

What families did.

Suddenly renewed urgency hastened his footsteps through the snow as he followed his memorized trail back to the cave. The fire had burned low; McKay slept deeply, his hair plastered with sweat, half out of his wrapping of silvery blanket even though his hands were icy to the touch when Ronon wrapped him up again.

He stirred the fire back to blazing warmth, and melted snow in their improvised pan, which had once been the case of McKay's laptop. McKay hadn't liked breaking it up -- to say the least -- but Ronon made the decisions on this world ... and any object was more replaceable than a human life.

The core components of the laptop lay scattered by McKay's limp fingers. The scientist was convinced that he could build a signaling device. Ronon doubted it, but he wasn't going to deny an injured man something to keep him busy. Especially someone with a brain as fast-moving as McKay's; Ronon didn't doubt that Rodney could do himself physical injury just from the strain of trying not to think about things.

"Catch something?"

McKay's question was soft, weak -- much weaker than his voice had been only yesterday. Ronon merely nodded, and set the squirrel-thing to roasting over the fire. It would make a decent stew, and the snow would have another day to settle so that he could go and hunt for real food, food to sustain an injured man until help could come.

Rodney grunted softly, and curled back into the blankets without comment. Ronon didn't like that.

"You said you were going to teach me science."

After a pause, the blankets glowered at him irritably. "What, now?"

"What better time?" Reasonable question, he thought.

There was a long silence. Finally, Rodney's head emerged slowly and blearily from his cocoon. " 'Science' covers a rather broad spectrum of human endeavor; you do realize that, right?"

"I know." Ronon settled back against the wall of the cave, drawing his coat close about him. His leg rested alongside Rodney's blanket-wrapped form, feeling the faint vibration of the shivers passing through the scientist's body. There was nothing to do until the water finished melting, nothing to do but wait. "Something to help defeat the Wraith."

"You have a one-track mind," Rodney grumbled, shifting himself in fruitless search of a less painful position. He ended up with his head resting on Ronon's knee, which really couldn't be comfortable, but Rodney seemed to prefer it to the cold, rocky floor of the cave.

"Let's start with hiveship propulsion systems, then."

Ronon leaned his head back against the wall of the cave, and listened in silence to the not completely incomprehensible, but utterly boring explanations -- interrupting with questions when Rodney happened, by random chance, to hit on a topic that had actual meaning for him. When the scientist fell asleep between one sentence and the next, Ronon let his hand slip down to let his fingers wrap lightly around the back of his teammate's neck, cushioning it from the cold ground.

He wasn't sure exactly what drew his attention to the mouth of the cave. Maybe it was the faintest cessation of sound; maybe it was the stillness, where he'd been used to movement from the corner of his eye.

"Hey. McKay." Ronon jogged his teammate gently, his hand still curled under Rodney's neck. "Snow's stopped."

Rodney made a faint sound in his sleep, but didn't wake, his body settling more firmly against Ronon's leg.

Careful not to disturb him, Ronon leaned forward and fed the fire with his free hand. Then he settled back to wait -- to wait for the snow-water to finish heating in its makeshift pan, to wait for their friends to find them. Outside, the clouds began to break up, and for the first time in four days, moonlight skated across the silver, unbroken snow.

Note: This story was remixed by the lovely xparrot as Any Port in a Storm (the Cold Winds, Hot Air remix)
Very nicely done. Very nice Ronan voice, and the visuals are excellent, particularly that last shot.
Awww! You have such a beautiful, rich voice for Ronon, who thinks and feels so much more than he usually lets on... I love that this was him and Rodney, and him taking charge and feeling responsible, now that they're in his element, just like he lets himself relax into letting the others take charge in theirs. I love his absolute trust in the others; that they will come, will find them, at the same time as he's making plans for the event that the others might take a while. Oh, and Rodney's obvious comfort in his company was just icing on the delicious h/c cake. ♥

Beautiful descriptions of the world, as always, with interesting insights into Ronon's understanding of wilderness survival.
*smiles* Thank you! I'm really becoming fascinated with Ronon, and the contrast between the fierce facade he presents to the world, and the caring person hidden underneath.
Lovely as always. I like the way Ronon thinks it was his problem to solve by the nature of the problem and that he considers Rodney family.

Now, if you just want to expand it to, I don't know, 20 chapters or so, I won't mind a bit. :)
Thank you! *grin* It's kind of tempting to expand this ... 'cause I do wonder how they got into that situation, and how they got out of it ...
Ronon/Rodney friendship, yay!

That this was his problem to solve, he did not bother to question. If they'd been confronted with a problem of technology, it would have been McKay's province, and Ronon would have stayed out of the way. That was what teams did.

Loved that, because, yes. Very, very true.

Great story.
Thank you very much! I love Rodney/Ronon friendship; the tantalizing bits that we've gotten on the show have just made me crave more.
Yay, I love Ronon/Rodney almost as much as McShep! ^^ And h/c, yum! We don't get to see much tenderness from Ronon on the show, but this was entirely within character, me thinks.
Thank you kindly! I do think that canon Ronon is entirely capable of this sort of affection, though we haven't seen it much.
Very well done.

I love Ronon's utter faith that Sheppard and Teyla will find them. I love the idea that he has no problems looking after Rodney and doing the things like hunting because that is what he good at - and that Rodney would do the same if the situation called for his particular set of skills.

And I loved the idea of Ronon trying to keep Rodney awake/aware/alive by asking him about science.
Thank you! That bit about science was kind of spun off from Ronon's comment about wanting to "learn some science" in "Final Strike". I'm not sure if this takes place before or after, but I can certainly see him using that as a way of getting Rodney talking to keep him conscious.

I'm glad you liked it. ^_^
I love this, for many of the reasons that other's have said; Ronon's rich voice, his trust and care of family and team mates, and his sheer comfort in this environment and his understanding of their roles on the team.

And the last bit? The image of the moon on the snow? Gorgeous.
I like how Ronon asks Rodney to teach him science to pass the time, and that he dives right in with hiveship propulsion.
Well written scene. This sounds the like Ronon I hear. His thoughts about family and how a team works, it all sounds right.

Most enjoyable and lovely h/c as well.

Thank you! I suppose it's hardly fair to tempt everyone with a dose of h/c and then not tell the rest of the story ... but I don't really know what the rest of the story *is*! I never really figured out how they got there in the first place...
shameless self indulgent h/c.... okay! Always enjoy a good Ronon moment and this hit the spot.
Everyone needs some shameless h/c now and then! *grin* I'm glad you liked it.
Lovely story. I really liked Ronon's POV here - loved the idea that the wilderness survival is *his* thing and he's going to take responsibility for it, just as alien technology would be Rodney's thing.

The ending was very nice - Ronon patiently waiting for the backup he knows is coming, because of that trust that he's slowly learnt again since he's been part of Atlantis.
Thank you very much! I've loved seeing Ronon's ability to trust others slowly being rediscovered as he gets to know the Atlanteans, and I wanted to develop that in this story. They've come for him once; he knows they'll come again.
Lovely fic! Beautiful description of their environment, I could really visualise the setting. And Ronon's inners thoughts were wonderfully in character - his trust in his team, and faith that they would be found - very touching and it speaks volumes about how far Ronon's character has developed over two years.
*smiles* Thank you; I'm glad you liked it! Ronon's character development over the last couple of years has been pretty neat; I've really enjoyed watching him learn how to trust again, and I wanted to develop that idea. He knows they'll come for him, no matter what.
I loved this - it was just so spot on. The right level on h/c without being too much. Ronon's thoughts were perfect. Rodney's reactions were as well.

After a pause, the blankets glowered at him irritably.

LOL!! A few paltry blankets can't stop the force of a McKay glower!!

Lovely, lovely story. I want more!!!
Late reply here, but thank you very much! I really love Ronon and Rodney's interaction; I doubt if anything can ever replace the John-Rodney friendship in my head, but oh, the two of them are so cute, and I really crave more h/c with them.
Whee, I so, so love this! Ronon and Rodney are just ever so fun together, and I love Ronon asking about Science, oh so so cute. Also adore Ronon's calm way of accepting that it's his responsibility to take care of them in these situations, and that McKay handles the science, just so beautiful, the perfect understanding of how the team is balanced.

...Also, it had whumped Rodney, which I never say no to, soooo ^_-
Thank you so much! Ronon and Rodney are officially one of the cutest things EVER, in my mind. And whumped Rodney is never a bad thing. ^_^