Title: Further I Fall

Author: Christi (

Rating: PG

Category: Ronon angst with a side of Ronon/Teyla

Timeline: Sometime not too terribly long after Runner.

Author’s Note: kate98 and caroly_214 beta’d, and for that, I am very thankful. Oh, and the title is yanked from Ender Will Save Us All by Dashboard Confessional. (My little sister’s influence. Oy.) The rest of the song has nothing to do with this fic, but that particular verse was a bit disturbingly accurate.




The rhythmic pounding of feet against the metal floor of Atlantis was mind-numbing for most, a hypnotizing background noise of life going on as usual. The average worker found it soothing if they noticed it at all, a reminder that they weren’t alone in what was left of the grand ghost city.


For Ronon, the constant subtle noise seemed deafening.


Every sound—the squeak of a shoe against a slippery surface, the pad of feet on cold metal, the rustle of grey military uniforms—screamed, echoed in a mind too used to silence.


Rationally, he knew Atlantis was safe—people told him so everyday. But Ronon had spent seven years on the run, a flurry of motion that never dared stop. As it turned out, it was a hard habit to break.


He ran with Sheppard every morning—but he ran alone almost every morning for hours before that, with no shoes, shirt, or sense of decorum to restrict him. His path was random, his aim unclear—he merely tore down the halls blindly, obsessing over the echo of each footstep that rang out as his bare feet slammed into the smooth silver floor.


But no matter how long or how far he ran, nothing was ever silent here. In the center of the city, hustle and bustle of daily life ricocheted against halls too long accustomed to being vacant. McKay’s voice always carried out of the labs, strident and insistent. From the armory came the hum of equipment and the guard who was stationed there. Even further out, where the Earthlings had yet to take over, there lurked an uneasy whisper—restless voices of the dead in eerily empty rooms. And always, always, his feet, which could run through a forest of sticks and stones and dry leaves and give nothing away, inevitably announced his presence with the crack of skin against civilization.


So he ran harder, faster, trying to escape the sounds.


Noise meant discovery; discovery meant death. Ronon had never been ready to die.




“You’re quiet this morning,” Sheppard observed, gasping around the words in the struggle for air.


An answer wasn’t really required—very few things actually needed a response, in Ronon’s experience. Still, because it seemed like one was expected, he managed to grunt, “Not much to say.”


Sheppard nodded. “Right.”


After one last stretch, they started running back, steps falling together in one loud, repeating sound—Thud. Thud. Thud.




The doctor moved differently than most, the unconscious inexperience of an animal that had never faced a predator and known that raw fear. Rationally, Ronon knew that his words as he performed the routine examination were meant to be comforting, but at the end of the day, words were just words, and Ronon would rather do without them.


As such, he really wished that Dr. Beckett would shut up.


“Everything looks good here,” the doctor pronounced, stepping away from the old wound on his back where his reason for running had been cut out. “Now that the wound has completely healed, we can see that there’s been no damage to the surrounding tissue or nerves. I am afraid you’ll have a rather nasty scar, though.”


Ronon liked that. Scars were important—visible reminders that you had lived when you probably should have died. Scars meant cunning, survival, beating the enemy.


He left when the doctor’s back was turned. Much, much later, he realized that he probably should have said ‘thank you’.




The meeting with Weir and the rest of Sheppard’s team followed pretty much the same format as all the others—go, explore, don’t say or do anything stupid.


Personally, Ronon thought that the last bit too often proved to be difficult for these people.


And of course, there was a plan—some ruins that needed exploring, some locals to trade with, and a set time to check in. They never went anywhere, it seemed, without a detailed plan.  


So when Dr. Weir turned to him and asked, “What do you think, Ronon?” in that all too cheery voice of hers, Ronon had a moment where he thought he might answer honestly—that he thought they spent an awful lot of time preparing for every eventuality except the one that would inevitably arise.


Instead, he grunted out a short, “Sounds good.”




Sometimes as he ran, he wondered if maybe the Wraith had won after all. In his struggle to stay alive, had he sacrificed something more important? He remembered laughing and chatting and saying things like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ long ago without having to be reminded, but seven years of trying to disappear seemed to have phased out some of the better parts of him.


He worried, occasionally, that he was little more than an animal by now—all instinct and little reason.


Because she was the only person he knew he might understand, he searched out Teyla one morning before the sun had risen in the sky, knowing that she’d be awake even if their hosts were not.


She knew he was there, but did not rush to finish her meditation and rituals—Ronon certainly wouldn’t have wanted her to, anyway. When she finally did open her eyes, she did not waste time with unnecessary pleasantries. “You have been troubled.”


“Some,” he admitted. “I didn’t know who else to….”


With a gesture she waved him in, and he sat on the bed next to her because it was the only place to rest. “It is fine. I am glad you have come. The others…they are kind, but they do not always understand. It is perhaps uncharitable of me, but I often think that they have had very…easy…lives.”


“I noticed,” he replied wryly.


They sat in a long silence, and Ronon welcomed the understanding it held. When it was broken, it was his choice, a conscious effort that left him feeling a little more in control. “I still feel like I’m running,” he admitted, and there was the truth of it. Life here was never fast enough, not to keep up with the frenetic, desperate pace of years gone by. So he pushed, wanting the world to be faster, harder, quieter. The only trouble was that Atlantis pushed right back. “I’m worried I’ll never remember how to stop.”


She thought over this and finally replied, “I believe that you have already begun.”


It was a thought that hadn’t occurred to him; but the more he considered her words, the more they made sense. After all, there had never been much time for thought before, and he’d certainly been doing more than his share of that lately.


Maybe, there was hope after all.


Because he did not yet have the words to express his gratitude, he leaned forward and kissed her.


When she began to kiss back, Ronon wished for the first time that he could make life pass slower.