"I thought you were dead."
"Yeah." John's not real interested in discussing that right now. "You know, I feel just fine. Never better."
Apart from the queasy jolt every time he lets himself think about the stolen years, repaid with interest. God, he's kissing cousin to a zombie…
Ronon takes one step forward and crowds closer to John, close enough that the space between them could be compromised with an extra-enthusiastic exhalation. John tilts his head back and watches the way Ronon visibly takes control of himself. He's heard what Ronon was like when he was missing, captured, being tortured on pay per view.
Listening to Elizabeth's amused, affectionate, approving account of Ronon's behaviour and keeping a tolerant smile on his face had been difficult, given the insistent pounding of blood in his ears as his body responded to the images her words conjured.
"Well, you know Ronon," he'd said easily, turning to leave and hoping he could get to his quarters without having to say another word to another person because his voice wanted to shake and he couldn't let it.
"I thought you were dead," Ronon says again and his lips are peeled back in a snarl, teeth clenched, hands in fists. "Do you know what I would have done if you'd been dead?"
It's flip and he regrets it. Ronon doesn't have a sense of humour. Not really. He laughs, sure, usually when someone he hates is choking on their final breath; maybe the odd grim smile when Rodney's particularly frenetic, but that's about it.
Ronon takes in a deep, shuddering breath and looks as if he's about to inflict some serious damage on whatever's closest.
Which would be John.
He puts his hand out and cups Ronon's cheek, startling him into stillness. They don't do tender. They don't do soft.
They're not going to start now, either.
His hand tightens, biting into skin and finding bone.
"I'm fine." He waits until Ronon accepts it, believes it, and when that's happened and Ronon's standing slouched and open, expectant, he lets his hand fall away and watches the pale skin rush to red, fade to shadowed bruises.
He brushes the back of his fingers over the marks. "Fine…"
It's suddenly a question and his hand's shaking. Ronon pushes him against the wall, letting it hold John up as he slides to his knees.
"Yes. You are."
Ronon's mouth is warm against John's skin, kissing, licking, biting, until he gets to the place where the Wraith's hand had pressed, hard and hungry, and he hesitates.
John stares over the soft fuzzy tangle of Ronon's hair, unblinking, waiting, his hand moving over the nape of Ronon's neck in slow strokes.
Ronon sighs and rests his forehead against the tainted, chilled flesh. "I would have avenged you. I would have left this place and I would have hunted."
"I didn't die." He spreads his fingers wide and plunges them upward into that thick hair, feeling the shape of a skull under the fragile skin. "What did you have planned for me alive?"
Ronon chuckles, rich and low. His teeth dig into the flesh above John's heart, worrying at it until John feels the skin tear, break open. Ronon spits out a red mouthful and tips his head back.
He's smiling like John's just made a joke, grinning a blood-smeared grin, eyes narrowing with amusement.
"I was going to kill you for scaring me."
"Oh, that works. That makes sense."
They're both laughing now, the kind of laughter than can tip into tears, but they don't do those, not ever, so John leans over and fits his fingers against the bruised skin and moves Ronon's mouth to where he wants it.
Because he's feeling fine.
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