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[personal profile] denyce
Title: Dog Tags
Author: Denyce
Fandom: SGA
Pairing: Caldwell, Ronon
Rating: PG, gen
Summary: Caldwell understands symbolism and the need to belong.
Disclaimer: Not mine; no infringement of any rights is intended. This is not for profit & is intended only for enjoyment.
Note: Big Thanks & {{HUGS}} to [livejournal.com profile] iibnf who beta'd & offered wonderful advice, & to Rox who went over a revised version...lastly any mistakes ARE MINE--yea I tinkered, again, just point out the bad--thanks :-)

1/1

A buzz sounded. “Enter,” Caldwell automatically said and continued to work, shuffling mounds of paper on his desk, when he heard the door swish open then closed. Without looking up he stated, “Have a seat.”

Ignoring the order Ronon stood, aggravated that he was unceremoniously summoned away from his training. It was Sheppard he followed. Sheppard’s orders he obeyed; Sheppard who he trusted. Sometimes an order came from Weir, a teammate or Lorne, but this man? He didn’t know Caldwell, nor did he trust him.

A minute passed before Caldwell finally looked up and stared unfazed as Ronon Dex stood there stoically.

His brow rose before Caldwell’s hand stilled, stopping his work completely he leaned back in his chair to give Ronon Dex his full attention. In a softer, more respectful tone he added, “Please, have a seat.” Dex’s hesitation lasted a hair’s breadth longer than he anticipated.

With a satisfied smirk and slight tilt of his head, a physical characterization that completely reminded him of Sheppard, Ronon acknowledged Col. Caldwell’s request by taking a seat.

Caldwell didn’t bother to waste any further time trying to mentally assess Ronon Dex. He had already done that; had watched Ronon Dex in training with and against his men. Sheppard was correct. Ronon was among other things, a survivor; strong, intelligent, courageous, quick, and deadly. Not that he’d ever admit or ever say it out loud, but Caldwell agreed with McKay, who he had heard muttering on that Conan—Ronon would eat anything and just as quickly shoot someone. Barbarian or not, it was obvious Ronon lived by a code with a precedence to kill wraith. If seven years, being used as a toy or training tool for wraith to hunt didn’t prove his loyalty against the wraith or his willingness to fight them. Then one would only have look at the wasteland of what was left of Sateda, Ronon’s home planet; the destruction of Sateda alone spoke volumes on Ronon’s behalf. Ronon’s discovery of his home was the only time they had seen the façade of the warrior slip, but that slip had only seemed like an echo. As quickly as they had seen it, his shield returned with renewed conviction and commitment.

It was Ronon’s silence, his detachment from those around him and his heightened focus on the battle that had caught Caldwell’s attention. It was only from his own vast experience that he even picked up on anything regarding the warrior and as vague as it was, it was something he needed to heed.

Born and raised military, it was only natural that he had enlisted. It gave Caldwell an added sense of belonging that rooted him--- no matter where the military took him. As a career man, he had seen, been through dozens of various scrimmages on the front lines, had seen better men lose everything, lose themselves, but what he saw and recognized in Ronon Dex worried him. Sheppard had vouched for Dex and initially that was enough, maybe not for him, but it was for Dr. Weir. He was too new, preferred to follow military procedure. To their thinking everything he did was unwelcome. In the end he did what he could, he waited, and observed.

Just biding his time, he read and studied Sheppard’s reports, their team dynamic beyond protocol. In addition, he studied Elizabeth and Major Lorne’s reports, but it was through McKay and Lorne’s reports that he started to read just between the lines, and piece together a few things. Immediately, he knew something had to be done to anchor the lone warrior.

Before him, Ronon practically lounged in the chair; legs sprawled out in a relaxed a semi-slouched fashion that Caldwell would have thought from the man’s generous size would have been completely uncomfortable.

Eyes lowered, Ronon patiently waited then raised a brow when he felt Caldwell’s stare, daring the man to comment.

Clearing his throat, Caldwell addressed Ronon Dex. “Thank you for coming. I was going over your records…” He momentarily paused, waiting for a reaction, and couldn’t decide if he was disappointed or relived when he didn’t receive one. “Military records that were filed and shouldn’t exist since you’re not officially enlisted. Though through the new Intergalactic Committee on Earth some effort of military and civilian benefits have been made toward a few of our intergalactic ‘friends’… Unfortunately, here in Atlantis regarding any of those benefits my hands are tied up in political bureaucracy.”

Caldwell quickly held up a hand to stop Ronon like he was going say something or leave; instead Ronon just shrugged with a look of boredom.

Sighing slightly deflated by Ronon’s interest Caldwell continued, “Yes well…” He leaned forward to emphasize the point, “that doesn’t exactly sit well with me. Officially, I can’t do anything, and this certainly wouldn’t mean anything back on Earth, but here on Atlantis, within the Pegasus Galaxy…” Without another word, Caldwell stood and walked around his desk to face Ronon as he reached inside his pocket. The metal chain gleamed under the light a slight jingle as the dog tags were dropped into Ronon’s palm.

Amazed, Ronon stared at the chain, a chain he instantly recognized. They all had them, Sheppard and all of the military personal. Though none of the scientists did, instead they had patches and other insignia. Ronon understood symbols and rank-- it was what the Brotherhood on Sateda was all about. They were Sateda warriors; he was proud and had taken pleasure each season when he reached another level of unity within the Brotherhood. Had arrogantly shown off the symbols with pride, but here no one knew or recognized what it meant… Sateda, his home was gone.

Fingering the cold metal, his thumb felt the etching indent of his name, Ronon Dex. Read his new rank of Sergeant, his origin Sateda warrior, even his blood type was etched within the metal. Ronon remembered when he first started training for Sheppard; the Marines had refused to remove their metal chains. He had only thought how foolish, and petty to wear. Unlike his own trophy necklace that would easily brake, the sturdy chain could be simply used as a weapon against them, but now he understood. It was more than data, it was a symbol that signified their unity; Sheppard’s priority of bettering their team strength and dynamitic…it was all connected beyond just survival, but to a place to belong, here in Atlantis.

Through lowered lids, ready to critically judge the man’s words and reaction, Ronon asked, “Teyla?”

“Declined graciously. Something about how her people might not understand.”

Ronon nodded, then, with steady fingers that belied what he was feeling; placed the tags over his neck letting them fall proudly to his chest. Ronon looked up and asked, “Anything else?”

Caldwell pursed his lips to keep from smiling, pleased when he saw the look of acceptance within Ronon’s eyes. “Just one. Your team…. Everyone here on Atlantis is important, but Lt. Col. Sheppard and Dr. McKay are…. They’re irreplaceable. Sheppard, as it turns out, is a good leader, though the man seems to get himself into more trouble, and with McKay…” Caldwell inclined his head, silently questioning Ronon if he believed he was wrong…by the smirk on Dex’s face it seemed he concurred.

“And?” Ronon prodded, silently letting the Colonel know he understood that they were all on the same team, but even still, it was Sheppard that was his leader.

“And, I am ord…requesting that you use your own discretion in keeping them, your team and yourself safe... at all costs. Have I made myself clear?”

Ronon stood, his long body stretching, his height towered over the Colonel’s by several inches, but it didn’t change the growing respect he now felt for the man before him. “Yeah, perfectly. Anything else?”

Caldwell stared Ronon down as he had countless other young Marines over the years, and added, “Sir…”

Ronon wanted to laugh, but only smirked, “Anything else, Sir?”

Pleased Caldwell turned and sat down prepared to get back to the pile he left, “No you’re dismissed…. Sergeant.”

Ronon didn’t salute nor nod… instead; he paused staring at the man who had dismissed him, already busy with paperwork. Then, slowly, Ronon turned and left; the soft sound of dog tags jiggled with every movement as he walked down the corridor.

FiN

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