The Broken Road

Ronon knew that the new doctor was hiding something. He was determined to find out the whole story. He must gain her trust and to do that he realized he had to trust her. Dr. Keller could not keep herself from staring at the handsome man. But from her past experience she was not going down that broken road ever again!

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8. Chapter 8

Ronon found Beckett in his office and entered without knocking. The doctor was so engrossed in his research papers - files and graphs were strewn everywhere - that he didn't notice Ronon at first. Not until he placed his hands upon the edge of the desk and leaned down, startling Carson. "Ack! Ronon! Ya scared the ever livin' life right out o' me." Catching his breath, Carson greeted his friend with a cheerful smile. "Yer up early this mornin'. What brings ya here?"

"Dr. Keller." He answered gruffly.

Worry etched across Dr. Beckett's face as he suddenly stood, "Is there something wrong with the lass?"

Ronon stood back and with a keen eye studied the emotions that traveled across the man's face. "She's fine." he finally said. Ronon could see the tension ebb from Beckett at his reply.

Once again wearing a cheerful smile he asked, "Oh good! What then about the dear girl? Is she still nervous about her first jump? Is that why you're here?"

Ronon being Ronon spoke what was on his mind. "What's her story?"

"Story?" Carson frowned as he shuffled through some papers. Looking at the large man standing in front of his desk, he asked "What do you mean?"

"I mean all that anyone knows about her is that she's an excellent doctor that came highly recommended."

"Oh aye she is that. She's a great surgeon and – " Carson jumped a bit when Ronon slammed his fist down on the desk.

"That's not what I mean and you know it." he said. "You are hiding something! She's hiding something! What is it!" Ronon demanded.

Beckett's Scottish temper was rising right along with Ronon's. Stepping from behind his desk to face the larger man, Beckett said, "I am bound by honor Ronon not to say anything. I gave her my word. If Dr. Keller - Jennifer - wants you to know about her past then - "

"Her past? What happened?" Ronon was ready to ring Carson's neck to get the truth out of him. He had to rein in his emotions before he regretted something - "What about her past?" He asked in a more controlled tone.

"Ronon, I canna tell ya. Her files are sealed by the higher ups. And I made a promise to the wee lass not to say anything. When she wants you to know she'll tell ya herself I'm sure of it. I can say this though...trust is hard for her."

Trust. Ronon left Beckett's office with that word filtering through his thoughts. Trust was hard earned. He should know. After the life he had led as a runner, it took him some time for him to trust the people of Atlantis. What was her reason for not trusting anyone? What had happened to her before she came here? Shit! More questions to the one's he already harbored.

~~ooo~~

Colonel Sheppard checked over his team while standing with his back to the inactive StarGate. Teyla and Rodney were all geared up and ready to go. A very nervous Dr. Keller was in the middle of the platform kneeling down next to a rather large medical bag - the damn thing was nearly as big as she was. The Doc was going over the contents making sure, he supposed, that she hadn't forgotten anything. By the looks of it she'd packed everything that was in the infirmary. Another backpack was by her side which was filled with medical supplies also. Sheppard walked over to her and looking down asked, "Sure you have everything there doc? I don't see the kitchen sink."

Blushing slightly Jennifer said, "This being my first time off-world I didn't know what to bring or not to bring. I just don't want to be unprepared." She stood up and slung the rucksack over her back. "Are we ready?" She asked while adjusting the straps.

"Not quite doc." John frowned looking for the last member of his team. "We're waiting on..."

Ronon strode into the Gate Room at that exact moment. He took the stairs two at a time and stood in front of Sheppard.

"...the Satedan devil himself!" Waving his arm in a flourish Sheppard sarcastically said, "Glad you could join us. Where you been Chewy? Oversleep again?"

"Was having a conversation with Dr. Beckett." He replied not taking his eyes off of Jennifer.

Jennifer hadn't noticed Ronon looking at her. She was trying to concentrate on balancing the overstuffed medical rucksack on her back and not tip over while grabbing for the straps of the larger bag on the floor next to her. Maybe she did overdo it on packing she thought. Smiling triumphantly she finally snagged both straps and started to lift the bag.

Ronon thought to himself how did the woman think she was going to be able to carry all of that. Dr. Keller may need the supplies but she also needed help carrying them. Apparently she wasn't going to ask for any help. Stubborn woman - he thought staring at her. Then he remembered Beckett's words: trust is hard for her. Without speaking Ronon bent down and took the over sized bag from her grasp, then stood without saying a word. Jennifer was wide-eyed and shocked for a second or two. Ronon actually paid her some attention – sort of. She squeaked out a "Thank you" to the stone faced man.

"Okay, I think we're all ready now?" Sheppard looked up at the control room and with his finger made a circular motion, "Dial us up Sergeant!"

Facing the star gate, Jennifer tightly gripped the straps of her medical backpack to the point that her knuckles turned white. She watched the gate turn and click at certain points then what looked like water exploded outward. At which point she stepped back into Ronon and right onto his foot. Horrified, she turned and apologized profusely. He only grunted, pursed his lips and stared straight ahead. Her attention was drawn back to the gate when the "water" was sucked in the opposite direction. Once the cycle was complete there was a shimmering blue wall where there was none seconds ago.

Teyla stood next to Jennifer, "The first time is always a bit frightening. You will do fine! We are right here with you." Teyla indicated the recon team.

Without looking, she could feel Ronon standing behind her and somehow that made her feel safe.

Jennifer jumped when Sheppard commanded "Let's move out people". With his P90 at the ready he walked right into the wall of water and disappeared. Rodney was next. Teyla walked along side of her, "We will go together"

Jennifer turned her head to look behind her. Ronon was looking down at her. His look was like that of someone who was in line with someone else backing things up. In her mind she could imagine him yelling, "Go Dammit! I haven't got all day!" And so she faced the shimmering star gate, closed her eyes, held her breath and walked through to the other side.

When she felt warm sunlight and a soft breeze on her face she opened her eyes in astonishment. She stood on a well-worn path which led away from the star gate and into dense woodland. Jennifer looked around anxiously. She had read reports stating hostiles being on the other side of the jump or ambushes or even Wraith. She bit her bottom lip and tightened her grip on her backpack. Her nerves were going into overdrive when a tall shadow blocked out the sun. She turned to see Ronon looking down at her. He leant in so close to her ear that the breath of his whisper gave her goose bumps as he declared, "Don't worry, Doc. I won't let anything happen to you. Trust me. " he then simply walked away to talk to Sheppard.

The one thousand and one butterflies in her stomach were going coo-coo over that simple statement whispered in her ear. She could not think straight; she scarcely could breath and she had clinicals today. God give her strength because she was going to need it!

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