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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By pushing the horses far past their limits; Ronon, Jennifer and Crieve quickly arrived at the village. Jennifer could not have been more grateful when she saw signs of civilization. Ever since they had left the Crimson Star-Gate, she had been scared half out of her mind sitting on top the powerful stallion. Now, silently proclaiming it a miracle that she had made it without falling off the damn beast, her grip of the animal's mane loosened. Jennifer assumed the pace would somewhat slow a bit. She was mistaken. It seemed that the men were hell bent on reaching their destination as quickly as possible, no matter what. So that meant continuing to let the horses run at a full gallop through the settlement. Ronon and Crieve did not even bother to slow down for villagers that happened to cross their path. Luckily, for those unfortunate souls, they heard the thundering hooves of the horses and quickly got out of the way. Angry shouts for the riders to slow down only made them push their mounts that much faster. The men, along with Jennifer, had only one objective and that was to get to Alianna before it was too late. Alas, when they neared the Crieve's house, an unwelcome sight greeted them. A gathering of close friends and neighbors stood off to the side of the dwelling. The expressions upon their faces spoke volumes to the new arrivals. A feeling of sadness hung in the air. Were they already too late? Reining in their mounts, Crieve was the first off his horse even before the animal came to a skidding halt. With the medical bags slung over his shoulder and fear fueling his steps, he raced through the front door to his beloved. Dismounting mere seconds later, Ronon reached for Jennifer to assist her in getting down. The Satedan was stunned when she refused his help by slapping away his hands. Then, to Ronon's surprise, Jennifer - in a not so graceful manner - slid off the sweat-lathered horse by herself. Facing Ronon and rubbing her hands gingerly over her sore rear end, she shot him a withering stare. Oh, the things she wanted to say to the egotistical jerk, but knew now was not the time or place to do so. Right now Alianna needed her help. So, biting back the words, Jennifer mentally filed her scathing lecture away for a later date. Taking a deep breath, she turned and, making sure to give the monstrous stallion a wide berth, trailed after Crieve. Ronon was right behind her. Entering the house, Jennifer nearly tripped over the medical bags laying haphazardly on the floor. It seemed that in his rush to get to Alianna, Crieve had simply dropped them right inside the doorway. Picking up the smaller bag, Jennifer made her way down a narrow hallway. The sounds of hushed arguing, boots pacing upon wooden flooring and a woman's cries of pain easily guided her to Alianna. Without any hesitation, she entered the room and took a quick assessment. The room was stifling, the air thick and hot. On the far wall, the bedroom windows were closed and the curtains drawn prohibiting the bright afternoon sun from entering. Beneath the windows was a rather large bed in which Alianna lay. Her face contorted in pain as her body experienced yet another strong contraction. The moan that escaped her was that of a woman who was giving up. Of a woman who had had enough. Jennifer noticed three women standing next to the bed. Two were at least in their fifties or sixties – maybe the town's mid-wives? The third woman was close to Alianna's age – a friend perhaps. All the women had been huddled together, softly arguing until they noticed Jennifer in the doorway; then silence befell them. The older two eyed Jennifer suspiciously. The youngest held a gleam of hope in her eyes. Turning her attention to Crieve, Jennifer watched as he paced back and forth in front of the bed. He had been doing so ever since she had entered the room. Suddenly the man stopped and was at Alianna's side in a fraction of a heartbeat when another contraction hit. Holding her hand, he spoke words of encouragement to her and helped her ride out the pain. As he kissed Alianna's hand, Crieve looked over at Jennifer. Getting up from the bed, he stalked over to her, yelling, "By the gods, woman, do something!" Before Crieve passed the foot of the bed, however, Ronon was standing in front of Jennifer, blocking Crieve's advance. Ronon said nothing, but Jennifer easily imagined the trademark dark look he was giving the other man. Tense seconds passed, then she barely heard Crieve's heart-felt plea, "Help her. Please. I cannot lose her." Walking out from behind Ronon, she saw that Crieve had went back to Alianna's side and was kneeling next to her bed, lovingly holding her hand again. Glancing up at Ronon, Jennifer saw something she had never seen before. His eyes glistened with unshed tears. Instantly forgotten was the scathing lecture, the one she had filed away for later. Jennifer realized now why he had done all the things he had done. His actions were, of course, for his sister, but it was also for the future of his people and for the child yet to be born. Witnessing his sadness, Jennifer vowed that Ronon would not suffer a loss today or any other day, for that matter, if it were in her power to prevent. Gathering herself together, Jennifer switched to Dr. Keller mode. She instantly became assertive and demanding. "First things first," Dr. Keller proclaimed as she went to stand next to the bed, "We need some light and fresh air in here. Ronon, would you please open the window." A gasp came from the three women. "Nay!"-exclaimed one of the older females, who foolishly stepped in Ronon's way as he proceeded to do as instructed. "It is forbidden. Windows are always closed and the curtains drawn so that mischievous spirits do not know a child is to be born." Ronon snorted at the same time Jennifer questioned, "What?" She was not surprised at the superstitious belief after traveling off-world to other cultures, but really? Not wanting to hurt the woman, Ronon tried to step around her. Blocked yet again by her, Ronon grabbed her by the arm. While she tried to wrest her arm free she continued, "Bad spirits cannot enter through windows. You do not understand. If you..." "Oh, shut up you old bitch!" Crieve yelled. Getting up, he threw back the curtains and opened the windows himself. Cool, fresh air immediately filled the room. "You fool!" the woman screamed at Crieve when Ronon finally let her go. "You have just condemned your mate, and possibly the life of the child, to the evil." The other woman screeched, pointing an accusing finger at him. Before either of the men could utter a word, Jennifer spoke up. "Out! The two of you." Standing with one hand on her hip, the other pointing at the bedroom door, Dr. Keller stared at the shocked women. "Go on. You heard me. In fact, I need both of you entirely out of this house!" Looking at Crieve, the women waited for him to take charge of the newcomer and put her in her place. But what happened next stunned them even more. "You heard the healer. Get your asses out of here. Now!" Red faced and indignant, the older women started to leave, with the younger one following. "No. Not you." Jennifer said to the younger woman, "You stay. I will need your help." The young girl was not about to argue with the golden haired lady and swiftly came back to stand next to the bed again. As the two women were exiting the room, Jennifer spied a pile of bloody sheets near the door. "Take those bed sheets out of here as you go, please." Angered because they were being ordered about by a complete stranger, the women grabbed the sheets and left in a huff. Turning her full attention to her patient, Jennifer carefully sat next to the exhausted woman, smiled and introduced herself. "Hi Alianna, my name is Dr. Keller. I'm here to help." "By the gods, it is about time." she said through clenched teeth, "The babe is taking the life right out of me." and with that, another contraction took over her body. Jennifer timed the labor pains and knew the moment for delivery was getting close. "Well, let's see what's going on here, shall we?" Retrieving what she needed from the medical bag, Jennifer listened to the baby's heartbeat. "Nice and strong. That's good." She then placed her hands upon Alianna's distorted belly and felt for the baby's position. Reaching into her bag once more, Jennifer pulled out a small hand held device. Holding it up, she told the soon-to-be mother that this was a portable ultra-sound. "I'll be able to see the baby while it's still inside you." "Will this harm her or the baby?" Crieve asked, placing his large hand protectively upon Alianna's swollen stomach. "No. It's perfectly safe. If I had more time, I'd explain how it works, but..." Crieve looked at his mate and gave his permission with a curt nod as he removed his hand. Scanning Alianna's abdomen, the result on the screen confirmed what everyone already knew. The baby was defiantly breach. "Do you know when your baby is due? When you should give birth?" "I am early," Alianna tiredly confessed, "but only by a couple weeks or so." "Good." Jennifer nodded, "That will be to our advantage. It'll be easier to turn the baby." Smiling brightly at the worn out woman, Jennifer patted Alianna's hand, "But before we do that, I have to go get the other medical bag." Standing up, Jennifer remarked, "I won't be long." Walking towards the doorway, she glanced over at Ronon, who stood nearby, and secretly motioned him to follow her. Once in the hallway, she took his arm and guided him towards the main room. She did not want the couple to hear what she had to say. "Ronon," Jennifer whispered, "If I can't turn the baby properly, then I have no other choice but to deliver it feet first." Letting go of his arm, she picked up the bag from off the floor. "In a perfect world I would perform a C-section," she informed him as she placed the large bag upon a crude dining table and started unpacking it. "But I don't have the necessary equipment to do so." Stopping her task, she looked at Ronon, "Not safely anyway. And it would take too long to get your sister back to Atlantis in time. She's too far along." With her hands on her hips, she faced Ronon and admitted, "If I can't turn the baby, then I'm going to have to deliver the little fellow feet first. Either way, the baby is in distress and has to come out now." Taking a step closer to Ronon, Jennifer reluctantly spoke her next words. "Also, Alianna has lost a lot of blood, Ronon." Staring up at him, Jennifer lightly touched his arm. She hoped to silently convey her warning to him because she did not want to speak the words aloud. Alianna was close to death and all Jennifer could do was deliver the baby and hope that everything went as planned. Ronon must have sensed her reluctance to tell him the dire news for he took her hands and, rubbing the back of them gently with his calloused thumbs assured her things would turn out all right. "My sister couldn't be in more capable hands. I have faith in you doc." His words gave her some measure of hope, but what she saw when she looked into his soft green eyes gave her something more. It gave her a reason to go beyond her best. A reason to strengthen the vow she made earlier; to not let him suffer loss again if it were in her power to do so. Nodding, she squeezed his hands and smiled, "Thank you." "What can I do to help?" the gentle giant asked. Pulling her hands from his, she bit her lip a second or two then replied, "Well, there is one thing I need done, Ronon, before I can begin." "Anything, just name it." He declared, folding his arms over his massive chest. "I need you to get Crieve out of the house." And with that, she grabbed the supplies she had unpacked and headed back to the bedroom leaving Ronon to stare after her in disbelief. Smirking, Ronon mumbled, "Me and my big mouth."
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