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Ronan stared blankly into the mirror as he finished dressing in the garments that the Fa’torians had provided. He looked like something out of a bad horror movie that he and Sheppard had watched one time. Yeah, he understood the whole “putting our best foot forward” notion, but this?

He had to draw a line somewhere.

There was a light tap on the door. He knew McKay wouldn’t bother knocking if he had still been here, and Sheppard and Weir were still getting ready. “It’s open, Teyla,” he replied, crossing his arms.

She opened the door quietly and chuckled as she closed it. “Those clothes are very becoming on you, Ronan.”

He snorted, turning to look at her. “Yeah, I don’t think so. These clothes make me look like…” He trailed off, not being able to think of a good comparison.

Teyla thought of one for him. “Like a man?” she asked, walking up to his side.

Ronan sighed, then grunted. “I haven’t worn clothes like these in a long time,” he admitted, turning back to stare at the reflection in the mirror that he hadn’t seen in years.

“They remind you of Sateda?” she asked quietly.

He barely gave her a nod. “Like I said. It was a long time ago.”

In reality, the clothes were nice. A forest green tunic was belted at the waist, with a pair of grey pants that bordered on black. He wore a vest that was open in the front, the color of Teyla’s skin. It was different from what he normally wore -- clothes left over from his days as a Runner -- and he almost admitted to himself that he liked the clothes. God knows they were a lot softer than his normal attire. But if he let himself feel comfortable while wearing them, it would only remind him more of Sateda. And what he lost.

He’d tried hard to get over that pain. The wound was almost closed. He wasn’t going to rip it open again and pour salt in it.

So he turned to face Teyla and nodded. “You look nice.”

She smiled widely at him. “Thank you. I am thankful that many cultures in our galaxy have similar taste in clothing.”

The dress she wore was similar in design to the crème colored one she had on earlier. But this one flowed to her feet, and the neckline swooped a little lower. The short sleeves of before were longer, the material flaring out but bunching together at the elbows. The coloring was a dark purple, which brought out glints of light in her eyes.

He smiled back at the woman who had become closer than a sister. “So. Got your eye on someone?”

Teyla glared at his back while he walked out of the room, a smug smile on his face.

-=-=-=-=-=-

The instant that Rodney had stepped through the ‘Gate, Evan Lorne had jogged down the stairs to meet him. “Doctor McKay. What’s our status?”

“Doctor Weir has made an agreement with the Fa’torians that, in return for some coffee beans and nice fabric -- which I could probably use for bed sheets -- umm, we’re rigging a weather radar system for them.” He tapped his earpiece, calling Zelenka to meet him in his lab.

“So they’re as nice as they seem?” Lorne asked.

“From what I’ve seen, yes. And,” McKay added emphatically, raising his index finger, “they are very good chefs.”

Lorne only smiled as he watched the astrophysicist walk away.

He headed back up to the control room. “Chuck, how’s everything looking?”

“Peaceful and quiet. For once,” Chuck mumbled under his breath with a chuckle. He then became aware of the major standing next to him with his arms crossed. “Sir,” he tacked on quickly at the end.

Evan chuckled in understanding. “In that case, I’m going to head down to the mess and get some dinner. Let me know when Dr. McKay prepares to leave.”

“Will do, Major,” Chuck replied as he spun in his chair, talking with another technician in the room as Lorne left the control room.

-=-=-=-=-=-

John was convinced the Fa’torians were evil.

In a good way, of course.

He had been laying on the bed, throwing a wadded up sock in the air and catching it, waiting for Elizabeth to finish using the shower in the bathroom. As she looked around, she had made the comment that the shower stall seemed to be big enough for two.

John had shut his eyes and sighed mercifully as Elizabeth shut the door. He waited to hear the click of a lock, but it never happened.

He knew in public that they were ignoring the kiss, seeming to pretend that it never happened. John had spent the day wondering if that feigned unawareness was going to carry over while they were in private, and it had. Which disappointed him a little.

He mentally reprimanded himself for even thinking that way.

He kept playing catch with the sock, not even noticing the water being turned off in the other room, until the door opened.

Elizabeth peeked her head out, giving him a small, embarrassed smile. “I forgot to bring my dress in with me.” Judging by the fabric covered shoulder that he could glimpse, she wasn’t naked, but his jaw still dropped in slight consternation.

He finally found his voice after a moment, amazed that he had even lost it in the first place. “You, uh, want me to grab it for you?”

She cocked her head to the side. “If you don’t mind,” she said, biting her lip.

John forced himself off the bed with a grunt, then made his way over to the closet and found the dress on a hanger. He picked it up and held it out to her.

Her hand snaked out through the crack in the doorway, but instead of reaching for the hanger she grabbed his hand. She waited until he finally brought his eyes up to meet hers and quietly asked, “You okay?”

“No, I’m not,” he replied, almost harshly as the words rolled off of his tongue.

Elizabeth looked taken aback. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“I kissed you this morning, Elizabeth,” he slowly told her. “And you kissed me back.” He wriggled his hand out of hers and hung the hanger on the doorknob. He couldn’t help but let out a sigh. “And you haven’t said anything about it. It’s like you’re pretending it never happened.”

“How can I accept that it did?” she cried out, stepping out of the bathroom, pulling the bathrobe belt tight around her waist. “John, you know as well as I do that once we go back to Atlantis, this is over.”

Without skipping a beat -- “And by this, you mean?”

Us! Once we go home, everything we feel, everything we’ve said, everything we’ve done is history. What’s the point of making things worse and exploiting the situation while we’re here?” She wrapped her arms and hugged herself. “It’s going to hurt like hell. And that’s going to be bad enough.”

“So we’re just supposed to bury everything beneath the surface and forget all of this?”

She brought her head up. Her stern face gave him the answer before her lips did. “Yes.”

John was too emotional right now, and it made him uncomfortable. His anger overtook the urge to talk about his feelings. “Fine. If that’s the way you wanna do things. But let me tell you something, Elizabeth. We’re going to this dance tonight, with our new friends, and I will dance with you and smile like a damn fool all night.“ He pointed an emphatic finger at her. “But if you think for one second that I’m going to forget this, think again.”

The bathroom door and the bedroom door slammed shut at the same time.


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