By Enola Jones

Ronon looked at Radek. "And this will work?"

The smaller man pushed his glasses up with a single finger. "Yes. With the Colonel's... ah... 'persuasion'? Atlantis will seal this room off at the touch of this button until you and only you touch it again. Then I shall disable it."

Ronon nodded.

"Ronon...." Radek looked up at him. "Are you certain---"

"No," he admitted. "But we have to try something. Sheppard is tending to Teyla, so I'm taking care of McKay."

Radek squeezed his tattooed forearm. "Be careful."

Ronon smiled closed-mouthed as Radek left. Then he touched his radio. "McKay. I need you in the gym."

"What? Why in the world do you--"

"The environmental controls are all screwed up."

A put-upon sigh was the reply, then, "Which gym?"


"I'm on my way."

Ronon cut the channel and spared a moment to look around and make certain he had everything that he needed.

Then, all that he had to do was wait.


McKay arrived, all talking and motion. As soon as he was through the door and walking away from it, Ronon hit the button.

McKay made it to the wall, then turned to face Ronon. "What's going on? The environmental controls are fine!"

"Yup," Ronon took a step forward. "But you're not."

"I'm fine." McKay bombed toward the door, pulling up short in visible shock when it did not open. "What---?"

"You're not fine, and you're not going anywhere."

McKay turned to face him, and reflexively dropped the tools he was carrying to catch the sticks Ronon threw at him. That, alone, was proof that he was not over this yet. "Of course I am! Let me out!"

"McKay, you were brainwashed into believing you were a warrior queen!"

He winced. "Do not remind me."

"Why? It was really interesting to watch," Ronon smirked. "Meredith."

Something reared in McKay's eyes. "Don't."

"You hate that name, but it's yours," Ronon circled him. "It's who you are."

"I'm Rodney," he roared.

"Yeah, you're Rodney. And Meredith was the warrior queen," Ronon countered. "You didn't have to rename; that was already there."

"Stop it!" Rodney snarled.

Ronon shrugged. "Wasn't that great of a brainwashing job, was it? You were already partway there! Meredith."

And Rodney attacked. He let out a low, rumbling snarl and lunged. The sticks parted, each landing in one of his hands, and he leapt at Ronon, whirling the sticks in offense.

Ronon grunted, blocking the clumsy attacks. They grew wilder and wilder, and Ronon blocked every one.

Then, suddenly, Ronon dropped one of the sticks and wrestled one of Rodney's out of his hand. He knocked the other one out of Rodney's hand, then threw his other stick aside and tackled Rodney.

Ronon immobilised Rodney's arms and turned so that the legs weren't a threat. Rodney was roaring incoherently, struggling mightily to break free.

But Ronon held on, not letting the scientist move.

When Rodney's struggles had turned into trembles and his roaring into sobbing gasps, Ronon spoke low and intensely into his ear.

"It wasn't your fault, McKay Rodney. That world was mad. They violated you as surely as if they'd touched you. They forced you to be and to do things you were never meant to."

Ronon shifted his grip and used gentle fingers to brush tears from Rodney's cheeks.

"We're here, Rodney. You don't have to struggle alone. Let us help you, Rodney. Let us help you heal."

"How?" Rodney whispered.

"We help you deal with what they did," Ronon said matter-of-factly. "We help you cope with the events on that world. You stop avoiding us."

Slowly, Rodney nodded.

"Starting now."

Another nod. "Right now," Rodney agreed.

"Okay, then." And Ronon let him go.

Rodney shakily got to his feet. Ronon climbed to his own. "Thanks," Rodney breathed.

Ronon nodded. Then he pressed the button and the gym doors opened.

They walked out together, with Ronon's hand on Rodney's shoulder.

The rift was over. Now was the time to heal.


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