Ronon had always had a good sense of smell.

As a child, he could smell his motherís baking from the schoolyard down the road, and know when to time his arrival to get the kimli dumplings warm from the fire. Now, people thought he was such a good tracker because of his years on the Run, but it has more to do with following the scent than the physical trail. You can hide your trail, but smell follows you and is harder to mask, and is never fully erased.

He can pick out his teammates in a crowd, isolate their scents on the breeze, shifting and sliding over the currents, and follow them back to the source. Itís come in handy more than once, in busy markets where people didn't have a problem with picking fights. They never seem to question how he appears at just the right moment to level a right hook into someone's jaw, but he doesn't know that they'd believe him.

Teyla smells of the earth, warm and dusty, with hints of tymria flowers and pimta fruits. She's cool enough to not let her anger show, her face always calm and serene, but the metal tang of the earth becomes almost stifling when someone makes the mistake of threatening her people, her team, her family.

McKay smells of sweat and machines, the acrid taste of chemicals and electricity heavy in the air, even off-world, in the middle of the forest. Panic turns bitter into sour, sharp, and almost vinegar. Ronon runs when he can taste the vinegar deep in the back of his throat.

Sheppard smells like the wind, cool and crisp and always moving. The city's left the scent of salt from the waves hitting the piers on him over that wind, and Ronon knows that he will always have that faint overlay of ocean air, even years from now, even after he's forced to leave. The city made sure of that.

Ronon knows how the city smells when everyone is there, knows all the individual scents that slide over the air, and even if he doesn't know their name, he can tell a Lantean from an off-worlder in a heartbeat. Certain people stand out more than others, itís just the way of things.

Carson came to remove the Tracker, and Ronon was caught slightly off-guard by how clean he smelled, like freshly washed clothes or sheets, but not bitter or antiseptic, even in the middle of the forest. There was always a faint hint of bandages and medicine over him, but it never outweighed the smell of clean. When Carson returned from the dead the smell was the same, but it was fainter. Everyone told him that this was a clone, it wasn't really Carson, but Ronon knew better. Scent doesn't lie.

Weir smelled soft, like the air after summer rains, but with a firm undertone of wood, of trees with strong roots that dig deep and don't snap in the wind. He knew at the start that she was not a woman to trifle with, but she would give a little, once you earned it.

Carter has the same scent of electricity around her as McKay, but it is tempered with hints of steel and gunpowder, and Ronon knew that regardless of his anger at her refusal to let his friends into the city, she would not bend to the will of others.

Jenniferís scent of ripe summer berries stuck with him after the quarantine. Under the fake berry of the strawberry lip balm she insists on wearing lies the fresh scent of summer berries on the vine, soaking up sun and fresh air. The youngness and the almost innocence of it makes him smile when he enters the infirmary after sparring.

The city smells of sweat and earth and metal and electricity and wind and the ocean and a million other little things all mixed up together.

It smells like home.

~[F I N]~
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