Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing:Lorne/Parrish, Lorne/Ronon, Lorne/Rodney, John/Ronon
Summary: Three first dates that might not be dates depending on the angle you look at them
A/N:Written for the slashing_lorne fic exchange for stormylullabye
Some dialogue for the last part is directly lifted from the episode “Brain Storm”
I know better than that
His hands were shaking when he was opening the door to the outdoor botany lab, but thankfully he had managed to hold onto it until he had been well away from his soldiers and the doctors and nurses and Sheppard and Weir. No need for them to see him like this. The last thing he wanted was to be sent back to Earth just because he couldn’t handle on little imprisonment.
The door slid open and Evan swiftly walked through it, breathing in deeply. A salty breeze came from the west and rustled the uncounted leaves of the plants and bushes and trees around him and the sun was rising in the east.
After spending days in a cage, breathing the stale air of an abandoned warehouse and seeing the sun only filtered through filthy windows, this was paradise.
“Major?” Someone asked behind him and Lorne whirled around, ready to attack.
“You’re okay?” Parrish asked him with wide open eyes then he shook his head. “Sorry, stupid question.” He put a hand on Evan’s arm, catching his eyes. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”
“I would have sent you back to the gate.” Evan argued but Parrish tilted his head and gave him a soft look that clearly told Evan that he wouldn’t have followed that order. They were a team, even after Reed was critically wounded and send back to Earth for recovery and Kaufman died, after Steven and Walker died the two of them where still together.
Evan kissed him.
His hands were still shaking when he buried them into Parrish’s hair, trying to get closer. God he wanted to get closer, wanted to melt into Davis’s skin and be a part of him. Then he would never have to return to the world, this would never have to end....And he realized his mistake because he was kissing the only person in this galaxy who genuinely cared whether he lived or died. And that was his mistake, the worst part of it, because if this wasn’t what David wanted he just lost everything.
“Evan...Evan!” David said, pushing him away. “It’s not that I’m not interested or flattered but I don’t think this is a good idea right now.”
“Please,” Evan whispered, resting his forehead against David’s shoulder. “Please.”
“You’re not yourself.”
“Right now, I want you.” Evan looked up, finding David’s eyes. “Is that true enough to myself for you?” He knew he was pleading, begging, really but maybe it was worth facing their regrets tomorrow if it meant they could live in the present for one night, only one out of a thousand other nights that Evan had spent alone and would spend alone.
“No regrets, “David told him, holding his gaze. “No day after denial. Just this once.”
“Believe me, Doc; I don’t make a habit out of getting kidnapped.” Evan smiled faintly.
“Good to know.” David replied and kissed him and when he buried his hands in David’s hair this time, they weren’t shaking.
Ghost in the sheets
“Why didn’t you ask Sheppard?” Evan tried not to sound too much like he didn’t want to be here. He always believed in ghosts and here in the ruins of Sateda he could nearly feel their touch on his skin. It made him shiver.
“He wouldn’t understand.” Was all Ronon answered. It had been more than eight years since Sateda was destroyed but Ronon seemed to remember every street and every building necessary to navigate them both through the ruins.
Evan had left Cadman and Reed at the Gate in the unlikely case that Wraith would turn up. Attaria, Sateda’s capital wasn’t located anywhere near the gate but Ronon hadn’t mentioned that so they had come without a jumper.
That had been hours ago and Evan still didn’t know why Ronon had asked him to accompany him on this mission and not Sheppard.
“Did you live here?” When they first had met Evan was sure that Ronon would kill him for trying to pry into his past but by now he figured out that he had to ask if he wanted to know something and that Ronon would answer.
“No, my family lived there.” He pointed south-east, towards a mountain range that was tipped with snow and the flanks were covered with trees.
“In the mountains?”
“No, a long way behind that. Skarapur.” He said it with a faint smile, like it was a fond memory. “Came to Attaria when I became a man.”
“How old were you?”
“Sixteen.” Evan remembered being sixteen, remembered holding hands with Tara Maclay on the way home and how fast his heart had beaten when Ray Singh had kissed him in an empty corridor after Film Club. “How old were you?”
“Nineteen.” Evan could do the math in his head. He knew Ronon’s age and he knew when Sateda had been destroyed. Ronon had been made a Runner the same age Evan had joined the Air Force.
Ronon took him around another corner. The street became wider and as far as Evan could tell the buildings more decorative.
“The Telersky Avenue, it’s 4 miles long, our parade street for every holiday and every victory.” Ronon told him. For a surreal moment Evan felt like a tourist and for the fraction of a second he could see the street in all its glory, the buildings intact and the people alive. He shook his head violently to lose the image. Ronon looked at him with bright, intelligent eyes as if he knew what Evan had seen, as if he had seen it himself.
“Where are we going?” He asked mostly to distract himself.
“There.” Ronon pointed to the ruin at the end of the street, a building that reminded Evan of the pantheon in Rome. “The military museum of Sateda.”
They walked the four miles mostly in silence, only occasionally Evan asked a question and Ronon gave him a short answer until the conversation stopped altogether. It was as if the ghosts of dead settled the heavier onto their shoulders the longer they walked.
When they reached the building the colour of the sky already began to turn. Sateda’s days were shorter than the one’s on Atlantis or Earth.
“We won’t make it back tonight.” Evan said more to himself than to Ronon.
“Nothing left here. No Wraith. We’ll be fine.” The museum was drowned in shadows and twilight when they climbed into it. Evan could see where a glass dome had spanned the entire building and the rest of intricate patterns of walls and stairs.
“Visited all the time.” Ronon told him, holding out a hand to Evan to help him up onto the second level. A good thing, too because the piece of stair steps Evan had been standing on gave in under his weight and for a heartbeat he dangled in groundless air until Ronon hauled him up.
“Really?” Evan panted, rolling onto his back to get away from the edge and back on his feet. Ronon already left the room.
“Why are we’re here?” That was the one question he hadn’t asked before, not even when Ronon had asked for him to come with him to Sateda.
“That’s why.” Ronon said when Evan approached him from behind. He had freed a single painting from the rubble, carefully swiping the dust from its surface with the back of his hand.
“The Victory of Veratriss.” He explained without Evan asking. “I painted it.”
“You did?” Evan asked surprised. Of all the people on Atlantis he’s least suspect Ronon of being an artist. He crouched next to Ronon, trying to get a better look on the picture.
“I wrote poetry, too.” Ronon smiled, like he had heard the surprise in Evan’s voice and was amused. “I didn’t come to Attaria to join the military.”
“Why did you?”
“The Wraith destroyed Samardad, as a warning. And we thought we could take them.”
“I wanted to be an artist, too.” Evan confessed later, after they had taken shelter in what, according to Ronon, used to be Attaria’s best inn. “And then my father died and my mom couldn’t pay for both my sister and me, so I joined Air Force and got a degree in something useful.” He never said this to anyone else, always pretended that he had always wanted to be a pilot, that he hadn’t had any romantic notions of being a ‘bohemian’ painter in the streets of Paris when he was seventeen.
“Do you regret it?” Ronon asked.
“All the time,” Evan laughed at himself, “And not at all.” He stretched out on the bed they had to share since it was the only one left intact in the building. It was big, too, both he and Ronon could flail around comfortably without touching at all, yet for some reason they both wound up in the middle, facing each other.
“What happened at Veratriss?” He asked, gesturing to the painting that leaned against the opposite wall.
“Why?” It was the first time Ronon asked him that.
“I’m curious.” Evan shrugged. “And I figured out that you only say something when you’re asked.”
“John doesn’t ask.”
“I think Sheppard’s afraid you’ll ask back.”
“And you’re not?”
“No.” He answered but his heart was pounding madly in his chest. Ronon reached out slowly, watching for a reaction from Evan as he laid his hand around Evan’s throat until his thumb rested where Ronon wore his tattoo.
“We used to share Sateda with the marid. They’re not humans but they’re intelligent. They live in the sea but used to come up the rivers and raid our villages. At Veratriss our three best fighters challenged them to a duel and we won despite the odds against us.” Ronon told him in a low voice, his thumb slightly stroking Evan’s throat.
“You can kiss me, you know?” Evan told him, lightly covering Ronon’s hand with his own.
“It’s too soon.” Ronon gave him a sad smile and shook his head.
“I’m willing to try.” There seemed to be only him and Ronon and the ghosts of Sateda as if they had stepped into the realm of the dead. Any thoughts of Atlantis and the living were far away.
“I can’t,” The smile that lit Ronon’s face was warm and it felt like a secret, shared just between the two of them, “but I’d like to.”
A Symmetry Of Imperfection
“Hey, look at that.” John gestured to where Rodney was sitting with Lorne, talking.
“What?” Ronon asked, disinterested.
“Think he’ll ever make a move?” Rodney’s crush on Lorne was a rather badly kept secret, mostly because on Atlantis the easiest and cheapest entertainment was also the oldest one known to mankind: gossip.
Ronon shrugged. “Couldn’t he get thrown out for that?” He asked, looking pointedly at John.
“Nah, I think getting shot down by Lorne would help him to get over it.”
“You think Lorne wouldn’t go out with him?”
“I’d doubt it.” John’s look was clearly inviting him to state his own opinion, but Ronon, whose own, premature attempt at a relationship with Lorne had failed miserably, merely shrugged. “Who cares?” He grabbed a few more sandwiches for their surfing trip to the mainland and nudged John in the ribs to get him going. It worked as usually.
“So I was thinking, I know you wanted to visit your family and everything, but one of my former frien-colleagues from university invited me to this presentation of his and since you have a degree in environmental sciences I thought it might interest you and it’d only be a day or two and then you could fly to San Francisco and spent the rest of your vacation with your sister.” Rodney finished, looking apprehensive.
“You know, Doc, sometimes I doubt that you’re not a replicator. Did you even breathe once during that sentence?”
“Of course, I did.” Evan smirked when he saw the confusion on Rodney’s face. “So what are you saying?”
“A building full of physicists talking about physics with you belittling their intelligence at every turn which will likely end in them trying to murder you?” Evan made a break as if he needed to think about it. “Sounds way too much like my every day job.”
“Oh,” Rodney’s face fell so Evan took pity on him. “Why? Was this supposed to be a subtle attempt at asking me out on a date?” He asked innocently.
“I, uh, maybe?” Evan had to bite the inside of his cheeks to keep from laughing. “You really shouldn’t try to tempt me into breaking the rules.”
“I didn’t mean to-“
“But I guess in the unlikely event that one of my superior officers turns up at your friends’ presentation – “ “Colleague.” Rodney corrected him automatically. “-I have a variety of white lies at my disposal ranging from my own clandestine interest in physics to alien possession.”
“Was that a yes?” Rodney asked, still slightly confused. Evan grinned at him. “Yes, Doc, it was.”
“It’s a nice plane.” Evan commented as soon as they were in the air.
“It’s just a plane.” Rodney grumbled, glaring darkly at a photo of Tunney with the Dalai Lama.
“It’s a very nice plane.” Evan teased him.
“You fly spaceships for a living, for God’s sake! How can you sound so impressed?”
“Well, the jumpers don’t come with champagne and strawberries and usually I’m the one flying them unless I’m injured. It’s a nice change.” While speaking he had pushed a champagne glass into Rodney’s hand who promptly drained it and collapsed in his seat.
“This was a bad idea.” He muttered. Evan let out a small laugh. “You must really hate this guy.”
“Look, I was always one step ahead of him during school and now that we're in the real world he wants to show me that, as far as most of the planet is concerned, he's a lot more successful than I am. And what is with the evening attire?! We're going to a science talk, for God's sake! Who the hell does he think he is?” Rodney ranted.
“You know, you’re supposed to admire my well-fitting suit and make small-talk with me while completely ignoring anything that isn’t my stunning blue eyes until this plane catches ground again.” Evan leaned back, a broad, amused smile on his lips.
“Right.” Rodney said, taking a deep breath. “Right, I’ll try.” He looked around. “Strawberries, huh?” He stretched his hand out to take one but Evan already held one out for him. When Rodney took a bite, he leaned closer and whispered. “Try not too hard, though or I’ll suspect you have a dangerous brain disease again.”
After a small incident over the confidentiality agreement, Evan and Rodney walked into the lobby that was already filled with people, talking around a large buffet.
“The food should better be good.” Rodney muttered.
“Rodney McKay?” Someone asked and when Rodney and Evan turned around, two men were walking towards them.
“We had on good authority that you were dead!” Rodney laughed forcedly and shook hands with both of them.
“Evan, these are Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson.”
“Evan Lorne.” Evan introduced himself.
“You’re a physicist?” Nye asked.
“No, I’m an Air Force major.” That answer got him two pairs of raised eyebrows.
“You’re Rodney’s date then?” Tyson asked, obviously trying not to grin out from a juvenile notion.
“Actually, I’m Dr. McKay’s security detail. His work for us is extremely valuable and due to the classified nature of it, also extremely dangerous at times.” Evan returned their suitably impressed expressions with a unreadable, professional smile that Rodney had seen countless times.
“Hence the reason I haven’t publishes anything recently.” Rodney jumped in on the disguise. He looked at them smugly. “Now, if you excuse us I think we’ll need to go to our seats. Bye!” And strode off like a king.
“Thank you.” He whispered to Evan when they were out of earshot.
“Don’t mention it. You should’ve seen Parrish’s brother’s when I told them that.” Evan smiled fondly at the memory.
“Did you date him?” Rodney asked suddenly.
“No, maybe that one time, but that wasn’t really dating.” When he saw Rodney’s face he laughed. “Relax, Rodney, I’m only kidding. I did not date by best friend.”
They settled into their seats when Rodney said. “I really don’t think this was a good idea.”
“I just...I remembered that I really don’t like these people.” Evan looked away, biting back a smile. “They’re right, you know? I haven’t published anything in years and my field is very competitive. It’s hard to explain.”
“You’re feeling underappreciated because no one here can admire that fact that you made revolutionary discoveries and saved a lot of people, possibly Earth as well, time and again.” Evan summed up for him. When Rodney looked at him, he added with a smirk. “I work with scientists - for a living.” And smiled at the dark look Rodney shot him.
“Stupid Bill Nye is telling everyone who'll listen that Tunney's the guy who turned the device off.” Rodney was ranting again as soon as the jet had left the ground.
“Because he was the one that shut off the device!” Evan pointed out with a smile. He was sitting cross legged in a pair of black trousers that one of Kramer’s security guards had unearthed for him and an old, faded t-shirt he usually slept in under a blanket. He had literally only packed a very small overnight bag.
“With my coding! It was my idea!” Evan rolled his eyes which Rodney didn’t notice. “Geo-engineering's a dumb pursuit anyways. I mean, no one person's going to solve global warming. We all have to do our part.”
“Like not taking private jets.” Evan cut in laughingly.
“You wanted to be home as soon as possible.” Rodney pointed out.
“I am freezing.” Evan gestured towards his still damp hair. “But you could help me with that.” He smiled flirtatiously. Rodney smiled back until he understood what Evan was actually asking.
“But you were legally dead a few hours ago; you were practically frozen. You really want to....?”
“Body heat. Best cure against hypothermia.” His smile got a fraction wider and decidedly more inviting. “Besides, it's either that or you keep telling me how you and only you saved the day.”
Rodney moved around to take the seat next to Evan. “I did save it, you know.” He grinned happily.
“I know, Doc.” Evan leaned in, whispering. “And I find that really sexy.” Before kissing him.
“Hey, Lorne!” John greeted him in the mess hall a couple weeks later when Evan was just leaving it. “Heard you and McKay saved the world.” Once upon a time Evan would have asked how John could know that but he could guess now.
“All routine work, sir.” Evan assured him.
“McKay was lucky that you were at the conference in the first place.” John did sound and look unassuming but Evan had spent a couple year as his 2IC and could see right through the facade.
“I covered geo-engineering when I did my environmental sciences degree, sir. I was luckier that McKay was there.”
“Sure you were.” John said smugly.
“I take your surfing trip went well, then?”
“Perfect waves, three weeks of sunshine, no world-saving.”
“Good for you, sir.” Evan turned to go, but before he did, he said. “You might want to cover any non-sunburn related marks though before Woolsey gets suspicious.” He laughed when John’s hand automatically flew to his neck.
“I meant the rash on your arm, “He grinned, “but tell Ronon that I’m happy he liked the surfing.”
Still grinning, Evan left the mess, wondering if he could drag Rodney away from his work early.
Life was good.