blue flamingos

Today and Tomorrow

Fandom: SGA

Category/Rated: Slash/G

Year/Length: 2011/2098 words

Pairing: John/Ronon

Spoilers: post- Enemy At The Gate

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: John and Ronon take a day off in San Francisco

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.


John finds Ronon in the gym, which wasn't exactly a difficult guess – just follow the trail of limping marines – and he hangs out in the door for a few seconds, pretending Ronon doesn't know he's there. John doesn't mind the pretence, not when it means he can watch Ronon stretch his legs at right angles to each other, near enough, and lower his torso until he has his forehead pressed to the floor.

Right before Ronon will look up, John leans in the doorway and says, "Hey."

Ronon doesn't straighten, just grunts an acknowledgement.

John shifts his weight to the other side of the doorframe. "You forget we're going into the city today?"

"Nope." Ronon lifts his head, his shoulders rising slightly, and looks at John. "You're early."

John shrugs awkwardly. "Lorne traded me for the last hour of my shift, he wants Friday night in a couple of weeks. So I thought maybe we could go early. If you're not busy."

"Nope," Ronon says again. He pushes himself to his feet in one smooth move that makes John's brain go a little fuzzy – they've only been together a few months, since just after Atlantis got back to Earth, which has not been long enough for John to adjust to how he's sleeping with the hottest guy in the city. "I'm gonna take a shower, get dressed. Meet you at the dock?"

"Unless you want some company."

Ronon's eyes go dark, like he's seriously considering it, before he shakes his head. "Not if you want to make the next shuttle."

John must be crazy: he chooses the shuttle over shower sex with Ronon.


The IOA is twitchy about Ronon and Teyla being out and about on Earth, convinced that people only need to look at them to know they're not from this planet, that regular Earth clothes just highlight some alienness about them.

John thinks that they look exactly as human as everyone else, since they *are* as human as everyone else, and that the IOA, just for a change, is losing the plot with its clothing theory. Though he will admit that nothing makes him do a double-take quite like Ronon walking out of the transporter wearing jeans and a white shirt, but that's mainly because the jeans are a perfect fit and the shirt has at least two buttons too many open.

"You change your mind about telling me where we're going?" he asks, joining John in watching the approach of the boat they use to get to the mainland.

"Into San Francisco," John says, same as he has every other time Ronon's asked in the week since John requested that Ronon book today off. "You sure you don't mind going into the city?"

Ronon rolls his eyes at the question, which is fair. John still can't believe he's asking Ronon that, even though he can't stop himself.

"Teyla said to ask if you've got a map," he says after a minute.

"I'm not going to need a map," John says confidently. "Trust me, I'll be able to find where we're going without getting lost."

"You got lost in Atlantis."

"I was losing my memory. Anyway, I learned to navigate in the air."

"Right," Ronon says, mocking and doubtful, but he's smiling at John, standing next to him in their city, waiting for a day of freedom, and John will take way more than being mocked for his sense of direction to get that smile out of Ronon, sweet and relaxed and happy.

"Trust me," he says, and Ronon meets his gaze and says, "I do," with so much sincerity that John feels wobbly.

Fortunately, the boat pulls up against the pier before he can say anything else.


John's gotten used to taking a boat from Atlantis to San Francisco – kind of – but that never stops him from looking back to where the city should be and feeling a moment of panic when he doesn't see anything. He's getting used to being on Earth, relaxing into it in a way he never would have expected to be able to, but he still can't wait to get back to Pegasus and normality.

"Last boat back's at eleven, sir," Singh, one of a small team of marines who've learned to run the motor boats, tells him.

"We'll be here," John promises, since there's no way he can spend the night in a hotel with Ronon without arousing suspicion that he still can't afford, especially with what today is.

"I'll remind Peterson to hang on for you just in case." Singh salutes John in a sloppy way that's a big part of why John likes him. "Have a good day."

Ronon waits patiently as the boat pulls away and John figures out which way he needs to go. "You going to tell me now what we're doing here?"

John's overcome with a sudden and ridiculous attack of nerves. He shakes his head. "Not yet."

Ronon eyes him like he's trying to read John's mind, and probably succeeding at it too; no-one knows John as well as Ronon does, and the weird thing is that John likes it. Then Ronon shrugs. "They likely to care about my weapons?"

"Only if you pull them on someone," John compromises on, since the San Francisco PD will probably do more than care if they find out Ronon's carrying knives in public.

"Then let's go."

They walk away from the dock in silence, not quite close enough to touch. John feels Ronon glancing at him, once, then again, but when he looks over, Ronon just smiles, and John can't help smiling back. "Sorry I've been..."

"Weird?" Ronon offers, still grinning.

John rolls his eyes, but he can't really argue. "Yeah."

"I'm used to it."

"Hey!" John elbows Ronon, who grabs him, holds him close for a moment as John leans into him. It feels good; John didn't miss dating when he was on his own, but he loves feeling safe close to someone.

Ronon wraps a hand around the back of John's neck and propels him forward. "Let's get there already. The curiosity's killing me."

"You've waited a week."

"Week's long enough."

The first thing John hears is drums, and Ronon's face lights up. "You have –" The last word is in Satedan, but the gate's too far away for it to be translated. John doesn't care – he likes how the unfamiliar language sounds in Ronon's mouth. Ronon makes a mildly annoyed face, then says, "Drum teams," his tone of voice clearly indicating that it's not a great translation.

It's probably not a great description either. "Kind of."

"We had that back home," Ronon says, his face still lit up as he steers them in the direction of the sound. 'Back home' has become a synonym amongst the Atlantis crew for Pegasus and the places they can't mention, but with Ronon it means something different. Like Atlantis still isn't really home, even after all his years there, like Sateda is still his ultimate home. "This is a festival?"

"Sort of," John hedges, angling them slightly so they're moving in the right direction for the drumming, the crowds growing around them as the noise increases. It's only a few minutes before they turn a corner and he feels the way he did stepping onto another planet for the first time, only this world is crowds and noises and a brightly colored float passing by, not an ancient city lighting up for him.

"'Scuse me, sweetheart," a woman says, her arm around another woman, nudging John aside so he bumps his hip against Ronon's.

John freezes, not sure if he wants to lean in or move away. He doesn't dare look at Ronon. "Come on," he says, pushing through the crowd without looking to see if Ronon's behind him.

After a few steps, he feels Ronon's hand in the small of his back, warm and reassuring.

The street's packed, but John knows they both scream military, and creating a path through the crowd to the relative safety of a building overhang is easy enough. John leans against the hot brick, Ronon leaning next to him, close enough that their bare arms touch. Out in the street, a float decorated vaguely like a jungle is passing by, the people on it dancing to music that John can barely hear over the crowd pressed around them.

He still doesn't want to look at Ronon.

"Gay pride," Ronon says, and John blinks, glancing at Ronon from the corner of his eye. Ronon has his arms crossed, watching the floats go by, and looks about as relaxed as he ever gets in a crowd.


Ronon turns his head enough to grin. "Lorne told me. Said San Francisco's famous for their's."

John kind of doesn't want to contemplate the circumstances that led to his boyfriend and his XO having that conversation. He and Lorne have a strictly maintained don't ask policy about each other's personal lives.

"You been before?" Ronon asks.

"I've never…" John looks back at the crowd – all these people who feel free to hold hands and kiss in public, all these people who are here to celebrate being part of a community that he could never get closer than the very edge of – and shakes his head. Most of the time, he doesn't notice the differences between him and Ronon, him and Teyla, but sometimes, he can feel every light year between the planets they grew up on. Like now, because Ronon doesn't have the experience that John has to make sense of this, and John doesn't have the words to explain it.

"Okay." Ronon nods. "I get why Lorne likes it."

"You're not – " Some time soon John will actually finish a sentence. "I shouldn't be here," he says.

"Because of the military?"

"Something like that." John looks away then back, because he owes Ronon this and he wants Ronon to understand. "Because I can't be…" He waves his hand, trying to make Ronon understand what he can't put into words.

Ronon nudges his shoulder and stays there, leaning into him. "You want to be here?" John nods. "You're not ashamed?"

"No." John pulls away so he can look Ronon in the eye. "No, I wouldn't – I'd never, with you, if I was… If I thought – We're not doing anything wrong."

"Good." Ronon smiles so the corners of his eyes crinkle, the smile John hardly ever sees, the one that still makes his knees go a little watery and his heart trip over itself with how stupidly in love he is with this guy. "Then we should be here. Is there going to be more drumming?"

John's brain stumbles on the abrupt change of subject. "Um, maybe? And singing, probably."

Ronon nods, apparently satisfied, his eyes going back to the parade. John twists so he can watch as well, trying to see it the way Ronon sees it, the way John would look at something like this on another world in Pegasus. He can't do it, he doesn't have the detachment, but it might not matter. Maybe this means more to him than it does to Ronon, or something different anyway, but Ronon's here, and John can't imagine having come to pride without him.

"Hey." Ronon tugs on the belt loops of John's jeans, pulling John back. John resists for a second – they're in public, there might be SGC personnel here – but Ronon doesn't let go. Doesn't pull harder, either, leaving the decision up to John.

Maybe it does matter as much to Ronon as it does to John, after all. Being public; being seen, even if no-one they know is looking at them.

John relaxes, lets Ronon pull him back until John's back is against Ronon's chest, his head against Ronon's shoulder, and Ronon wraps his arms loosely round John's waist.

Every inch of John's skin feels prickly, like even his nerves are self-conscious, but the easy way Ronon holds him feels like a challenge as much as it feels like a whole lot more, and John's never backed down from a challenge, not really. He rests his hands lightly on Ronon's wrists, rubbing his thumb over the pattern of ink that he can't feel.

The sun's bright overhead, the whole day stretching out in front of them. There are dancers passing by now, tumbling through hoops like a circus act, people standing around drinking and talking, happy and at ease. John closes his eyes, feeling all of it, feeling Ronon holding him steady, holding onto him, and just breathless.

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