Finding Home

Ronon has to decide where his home truly lies - with a blue-eyed doctor or a village claiming to be his people.

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The beat of Ronon's heart pounded hard and fast within his chest while his lungs labored for precious air. His warrior's body was covered in a slight sheen of sweat. His chest ached. However, this pain was not caused from the ba'ni, as before, but from the exertion of running head long through the dense forest. Once Ronon had decided to leave Dusana and the secluded glen, the discomfort of the ba'ni had lessened considerably.

Dawn had yet to make its appearance in the dark easterly sky as he made his way back to the village. Back to Atlantis. Back to her – his other.

After garnering the necessary information from the witch, Ronon had concluded that his dealings with Dusana had come to an end. He had come seeking the Vi'denus for answers. Answers to his dream, but he was leaving more frustrated than ever before.

And now, in true Ronon fashion, the Satedan plowed through the thick underbrush of the forest fueled by his dark anger. With no regards to his safety and without breaking his stride, Ronon ducked low hanging branches, hurtled fallen logs and weaved in and around massive trees in the predawn darkness. His foul mood was his constant, silent companion along the way.

As he ran, Ronon tried to escape the truth. Truth that flooded his troubled mind with thoughts that grated against his psyche, engraving worrisome dread into his heart and soul.

He heard Dusana's sultry voice in his head, "The ba'ni is the connection. It will always pull you and your other together until it is once again broken by death."

She had told him that it was useless to fight what the Fates had already set into motion. What is done is done - the Fates themselves cannot undo the bond, she had informed him. Coming to realize that in the short time Jennifer and he had spent together on Atlantis, they had become bonded without their knowing. Thanks to the damn ba'ni, he could not resist its pull no matter how hard he struggled against it.

And unfortunately, it appeared that their relationship had been preordained many a millennium ago to be forever cloaked in a shroud of death. If they were to sleep together - to mate - and if she happened to die first, it would matter naught to him. He would gladly follow her into the next life. He had lived many years as a warrior, a fighter, a killer and would welcome the embrace of death; the peace of it. No one would miss his passing; at least, not as much as they would surely miss hers.

It could be a possibility that he just might die an old man. At that thought, an image passed through his mind of him as an old weathered Satedan asleep in bed with Jennifer - who would have aged gracefully - wrapped in his arms. The vision made him smile and melted his thundering heart. Then he quickly ripped such a foolish idea from his head as he gave a gruff laugh. What was he thinking? He attracted the shadow of death like a drunkard to a well-stocked tavern. Old age was not part of his future. It never was. The twin moons of Atlantis would come crashing down from the heavens and sink deep into the sea before the Fates saw Ronon Dex become a grey-haired fossil of a man.

He was a warrior. The odds that he would die in combat were stacked against him. If he were killed in battle after becoming mated to her, then his love for Jennifer would see her to the next realm. Ronon could not accept the possibility that he would be the cause of her demise.

Trying his best to ignore the pesky thoughts hammering within his brain, Ronon surmised he was half way to the village. By the position of the early morning sun, he figured he had been running for a little over an hour. Drenched in sweat from his demanding physical exertion his overworked muscles in his legs began to ache and burn. His body begged him to stop this madness, but his spirit refused. He could not stay away any longer. He wanted to get back to Jennifer; to be near her, to keep her safe. Reluctantly realizing he needed her.

So with determination born of his warrior class, Ronon ignored his body's silent pleas to cease and pushed himself harder. Pushed himself to keep going. Forced himself to reach his goal.

An hour later, he noticed the trees thinning out and the sun shining more brightly overhead. He had been running for a good two hours non-stop, when he finally broke free of the forest and stopped to catch his breath. He needed to keep going but his body refused to go any further. It demanded rest.

Staggering a bit, Ronon's legs ultimately gave out from underneath him and he fell heavily to his knees; exhausted.

As his arms lay limp by his sides, he leaned back upon his shaky legs. He concentrated on bringing his heart rate and breathing back to some semblance of normalcy.

Wiping sweat from his face, Ronon scanned the meadow before him as he sucked in large amounts of air into his oxygen-deprived lungs. It was the same meadow that he had walked through just only yesterday on his way to find the witch. Beyond the field were the waterfall and the village. Then home.

Closing his eyes, he lifted his face up to the bright morning sun. Ronon tried to clear his mind, but growled in frustration instead. For no matter how hard he tried to erase Dusana's words, they echoed effortlessly through his thoughts.

Tis too late.

The ba'ni even now pulls at you to return to her.

Two hearts. One soul.

Dropping his dark head to his chest, Ronon sat in the morning silence. The weight of hopelessness that he felt was comparable to a large stone tied to his soul – dragging him down.

Fuck the Fates, he thought, and their callous intrusion on their lives – his and Jennifer's life together.

Ronon threw his arms open wide and lifting his head up towards the heavens; he let out a mighty roar which was directed towards the fucking gods themselves. Frustration and pain – that's what he poured forth from his soul. He had told himself over and over that he needed to stay as far from Jennifer as possible, but Dusana was right. It was an impossible task.

If Ronon took Jennifer to his bed – as he so longed to do – then their fates would be forever intertwined. His death would be hers.

Ronon conceded two options that would rectify the situation he found himself in.

Luckily – depending on whose point of view it was he supposed – they had not mated; had not slept together, so the ritual was not yet complete.

One option he came up with was that he could end his own life and the cycle would be broken – simple as that. However, who would protect Jennifer from harm if he were gone. He trusted no other male to keep her safe. He wanted no other male even to touch her let alone be near her. The silence of the dark beast within was broken by a low rumbling growl.

The other option: to break things off with her. Ronon knew it would more than likely hurt her emotionally, but the outcome would keep her safe. He'd keep his distance from her, but yet remain close enough if she needed his protection. The will power on his part to do this would be tremendous, however, necessary to succeed.

Getting to his feet, Ronon knew what he had to do once he got back home. His decision would make him a shell of a man, but it would guarantee Jennifer's safety and it had to be done. The relationship had to end. There was no other way.

As he was striving to come to terms with his decision, Ronon heard his name being called. Frowning, he scanned the meadow before him. He spotted Thane who was running towards him as fast as his young legs could carry him. As the boy got closer, Ronon knew something was wrong. The look of worry and fear on the boy's face had Ronon's heart racing once again.

"Thane! What's wrong?" Ronon questioned when the boy stopped and stood in front of him. "What is it boy?"

"It is mother!" he said breathlessly.

"Alianna?"

"The babe comes. And….and…."

Ronon took hold of the boy's shoulders, "What?!" worry now seeping into Ronon.

The crest fallen look on the boy's face was all Ronon needed to spur him into action. Leaving Thane to catch up, Ronon ran to his sister's house.

When he got there he found Crieve outside pacing in front of the dwelling, running his fingers through his hair and pale as a ghost.

"What? What has happened?" Ronon demanded.

Crieve ceased his frantic pacing only when Ronon placed a none-too-gentle hand upon his shoulder. The man had not even noticed the Satedan standing before him, so caught up with concern for his wife and child.

"The babe comes early. It is turned; it comes feet first. The midwife is nearly two days ride from here." Crieve looked into his brother-in-law's eyes, "They are dying."

For a split second Ronon thought Dusana might have caused such a thing and, if so, the bitch was as good as dead. But the idea was discarded along with the reckoning when Crieve informed him that Alianna's last birthing had been hard on her also. Apparently this one was even more so.

Entering the house, Ronon went to stand at the foot of his sister's bed. She was in the throes of a hard labor. Sweat-drenched sheets were tangled about her legs. The nightgown she wore clung to her damp body and strands of her dark hair were plastered to her pale face. She looked exhausted.

Ronon's attention was drawn to the bright red stain betwixt her legs; her life's blood saturated both the bedsheets and her gown.

Raising his eyes to look into his sister's tortured face, he saw Alianna looking back at him. Her eyes pleading for help. She opened her mouth to speak, but her words were abruptly cut off by a contraction. Her back arched as she fisted the sheets and pulled at them. Pain contorted her lovely face into a mask of agony.

As the contraction strengthened, Ronon could actually see her swollen abdomen harden. Her body was trying to expel the child – trying to unsuccessfully push it forth into this new world. She withered in pain as she let out an agonizing scream of pure suffering.

Feeling a moment of helplessness Ronon now knew what Crieve was feeling. Seeing what he loved the most slowly passing from this world to the next. Ronon would assuredly feel the same way if it were Jennifer laying there instead of his sister.

That image spurred Ronon into action. Going back outside, he grabbed Crieve by the front of his shirt.

"Where's the crystal. I need to get back to Atlantis."

The man just stared at him then turned his head towards the open doorway of the house when his wife once again let out another agonizing wail.

"Crieve dammit!" Ronon angrily said shaking him. "I need to get back to Atlantis. I can bring help. They both can be saved!"

"Tis too late. The gods have cursed me." the devastated man hopelessly whimpered.

As he tightened his grip on Crieve's shirt, Ronon ground out through clenched teeth, "The gods may have cursed you, but I'm going to kill you if you do not give me that crystal key!"

Ronon jerked Crieve closer. The two men were nearly nose-to-nose with each other now. Ronon shouted so that he might penetrate the dense mental fog Crieve found himself in, "Brother," Ronon demanded, "give me the crystal so that what we both love might still have a chance to live! Time is running out!"

Both men's attentions were drawn to the house when they heard Alianna's weak, but commanding voice.

"Oh for fuck sake, Crieve! Give him the crystal or I am going to get up from this bed and rip a couple of jewels from your body that you treasure dearly!"

With that threat, the man hurriedly handed the crystal key to Ronon with a statement on the order of "Please hurry. For everyone's sakes!"

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