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Ronon liked sparring with Lorne. He wasn't the fastest of the marines or the strongest or even the most clever, but he was all of those things and he had a stillness in him, a willingness to wait things out, that made him absolutely deadly.

Ronon still won every match, but there was a challenge there in ways that there wasn't with anyone else, something different, something that Ronon wouldn't have known how to replicate even were he to try.

Ronon also appreciated that when he'd been new to Atlantis, and the only people willing to risk...whatever the hell it was people thought they were risking by speaking to him had been McKay, Sheppard and Teyla, Lorne had said, "Look, if you're not into socializing that's fine, but you wanna join me for lunch?" after one particularly grueling match.

Lorne was a graceful loser.

Like Sheppard, Lorne knew how to say just enough that if the other person wanted to speak he could and if he didn't, the silence wouldn't be awkward. Lorne talked about different things than Sheppard: about his home, about his family, about his choice to go into the Marines.

Lorne was one of the few people Ronon had met in the city--and in his life in general--who had roots that he would be willing to go back to, seemed to miss regularly, even.

After the first few lunches went well, Lorne started inviting Ronon to the poker night he'd set up for some of the marines. A few of the scientists had tried to get in and Lorne had been welcoming until it had become clear that scientists were inveterate cheaters--it was like they just couldn't help themselves.

Ronon was a big favorite until he actually figured the game out, at which point, people weren't quite so eager to play with him. Except Lorne, Lorne was always pleased when he showed up.

Ronon was unsurprised to find that meant more to him than unbridled popularity.

He generally stayed after, because there was cleaning to do and because it meant he could spend more time with Lorne. He had long since figured out that there were cultural restrictions on same sex relations on Earth. It was pretty easy to do once he realized that there were almost no same-sex couples and the few who existed were scientists. It was unfortunate because Ronon had no intention of taking another woman to be his wife. There were certain places his mind was either unwilling or unable to rebuild. The taboo was odd, but Ronon tried to respect it. These were the people he lived with, after all.

In some cases, these were his friends.

Lorne was his friend.

At least until Lorne said, "So, if this isn't, I mean, if I'm reading the signals wrong I'd appreciate it if you didn't say anything," cupped one solid palm along Ronon's jaw and kissed him, slow and strong and clever. He kissed a lot like he sparred. Ronon leaned in for more.

Lorne pulled off just far enough to ask, "I'm guessing then, that this isn't a problem?"

"Shut up," Ronon said, and leaned in to restart the kiss.

Lorne laughed against his lips.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile