Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney, Eizabeth, Carson, Caldwell, Lorne, Zelenka, Cadman, Teyla, Ronan; John/Rodney, Carson/Cadman
Warnings/Spoliers: this drabble takes place, chronologically, between parts 4&5 of "Socii" in the Ancient!John 'verse
Disclaimer: Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine.
Summary: It's technically Christmas dinner.
Notes: I really should be at work. But I was savagely and maliciously attacked by an 8oz can of roteli monday night, which resulted in a huge bump on my forehead that may or may not have acually have concussed me. This led, via a long and winding process, to me having eggs for dinner last night that turned out to be quite past their experation date. All of which means I now have food poisoning, and only have in the last hour so been able to even stare at my computer without feeling violiently ill.
The upshot of this is that I was able to work on "Socii." The downside is I've decided that, damn it all, it's still not working and so you get yet another drabble before you find out what, ladies and gentelment, the Asgard coming to Atlantis have to do with ZPM recharging formulas. It may just be the possible!concussion talking, but considering I wrote all of "Somniati" instead of finishing this last week, probably not...
An Ancient!John Story
"Nothing's in control. Nothing makes sense. There's just pain and hate and nothing you do means anything."
John's walking tour is cut short by an emergency with the desalination tanks (read, idiots who can't follow simple instructions and will be shipped back to Earth just as soon as Rodney has the time to do the paperwork), so he never actually gets to tell them about his progress on the equations they've found for recharging the ZedPMs. Or eat lunch that day.
The next day holds a minor crisis with Cadman's gate team, wherein John has to assist Major Lorne's team in annulling a marriage the Lieutenant had somehow found herself a part of upon telling the village elder on M19-753 she was from Atlantis. Rodney's not sure why they only ask for the Colonel and not their whole team, only that said annulmenthad involved rather more C4 than most. Still, whatever the reason, it means his presentation has to be put off for another day.
And then it's Christmas.
More specifically, do to the peculiar nature of gate travel, the next day is mostly Christmas. As Lantea has a twenty-eight hour rotation about it's sun, Igerna, and Earth, obviously, has a twenty-four hour clock, things can get pretty problematic when trying to adapt Earth dates to Lantean days. For the most part, they just sort of deal, and most of the Expedition has sort of gotten used to having to check their watches before writing the date down on anything, when they bother to at all.
In any case, it means that, for the first thirteen hours and seventeen minutes of this particular Lantean day, it's still December twenty-fourth on Earth. At 1318 hours, however, it will be midnight in Kamchatka Krai, making it officially the twenty-fifth back on Earth and, therefore, Christmas on Atlantis.
And Elizabeth, being Elizabeth, isn't allowing the mess to serve Christmas dinner a minute before then. At least, not something they can call Christmas dinner.
The upshot of this is that they – the senior staff, blue Colonel Caldwell, Major Lorne, and Radek – all have to listen to Lieutenant Cadman share yesterday's tale of woe while they wait for the clock to tick over so they can eat lunch.
"I still don't get it," she says at the end of it, "It's not even like I have the Ancient gene."
Carson looks at her adoring and shakes his head a little. "I think being from Atlantis was just an excuse, love."
Rodney tries not to vomit a little at this. Everything about Carson and Cadman's relationship creeps him out on a fundamental level, particularly when the doctor (who he's sort of ashamed to call his best friend after moments like this) gets that whole I worship the ground you walk on look in his eyes when he looks at Laura. Or talks about her. Or thinks more than passingly on her.
Oh, Rodney wants Carson to be happy and all that, in the oblique sort of sense where he thinks his friend might be less a mother hen about things certain things, like caffeine intake or sleeping habits, if only he were having fairly regular sex. But Rodney doesn't want to have to be confronted too regularly with the object of said sexual activities, particularly when he'd once had the unpleasant experience of sharing his body with said object.
Whatever. (Rodney's still not sure she's not actually the devil incarnate, come to even out his karmic scale by making him just as miserable as John makes him happy. 'Cause that would just be so typical of his life to this point.)
John, however, likes Lieutenant Cadman for some reason. They've managed to bond or something over their mutual love of plastic explosives and semi-automatic weaponry. And, as if this isn't bad enough given the Colonel's rather suicidal leadership style, she's also introduced him to Johnny Cash, which he actually seems to prefer to the music Rodney's tried to introduce him to – even the stuff by Holst and Fauré, some of which sort of sound like 'Lantis does when she's in one of her more stable moods.
Anyway, John's inexplicable friendship with Carson's girlfriend aside, he knows Rodney's feelings about that particular relationship very well (it's one of his favourite ranting topics, falling somewhere between my lab is staffed with idiots and I swear the mess is intentionally trying to poison me). He also has the gall to smirk at him when he sees Rodney's reaction.
This time, Rodney has to restrain the urge to stick his tongue out at him.
Seeming to realize this, John appears to take pity on him and chooses this moment to declare, quite definitively, "Descendants are weird."
Everyone at the table turns to gape at him. Well, not Caldwell (he's too nose to the grindstone to do something as plebeian as gawk at someone for something they've said). Or Ronan (because he honestly could care less). Or Teyla (because she's rather above such things as well). But everyone else's does, which thankfully cuts short both the discussion of the events on 753 and the disgustingly saccharine look on Carson's face.
"Well, you are."
"And what, pray tell," Elizabeth asks, eyes crinkling with amusement, quite possibly seeing through John's game already, "is normal?"
"I dunno. But it's not," he says, pointing towards the Christmas tree the biology department has set up in a corner of the mess, which looks more like a thin-needled palm tree than holiday card worthy, "covering potted plants in glass balls and lights. Or," with a nod towards Cadman, "wanting to marry someone because they're working off the misguided notion they're one of their Gods."
Teyla, thankfully, picks up the thread before those not familiar with John's my people were not Gods, thank you very much rantcould say anything that could start him down it. "I understand a tree adorned liked this one is an integral part of Earth's winter holidays. On Athos, as part of our winter solstice celebration, we would array our homes with garlands of the sweet-smelling arakae plant to drive out the darkness. What would your people do?"
"Surely your people must have done something for your holidays."
"We didn't have holidays."
"Celebrations, then," Elizabeth asks, leaning forward, eager to learn more about Ancient culture. Her crows-feet deepen as she smiles encouragingly across the table, looking happier than Rodney's seen her in what seems like lifetimes. It's sort of brilliant because, well, he'd been starting to get worried about her and really, really didn't want to have deal with the fallout that would inevitably arise from referring the head of the Expedition to the Heightmeyer's office, particularly if it had led to her replacement. It's also sort of troubling because, well, it's a complete about face of where she'd been three days ago and he really doesn't want to have to deal with another alien possession this week either. Rodney chooses to take her current mirth as Christmas spirit tinged with anthropological enthusiasm and vows to double check that the goa'uld is still quite dead inside it's stasis chamber the next chance he gets.
Call him paranoid, but, in their line of work, a little bit of paranoia can be a healthy, galaxy-saving thing.
"Oh, I dunno... Take birthdays. On Earth, a lot of times parents will throw a party for their child, and there will be cake and games and presents."
The Colonel appears to think about it. After a moment, "Nicolaa's parents always suggested she spend the whole day in meditation when her birthday rolled around."
"And your parents?"
Shrugging, "Father wasn't really big on meditation."
"And your mother?" Rodney's eyes snap to Radek, who'd had the gall to ask this particular question, and offers him a look that promises months of desalination tank maintenance if he didn't drop the subject now. "It is just," the Czech continues, apparently inured to Rodney's best glares already, "you are always talking about your father, but I have never heard you mention your mother once in all the time we have been here."
"There isn't much to tell," John says in that too calm, too casual way he adopts when things start hitting too close to home. "She died when I was three years old, so I don't actually remember much about her."
"Kurva," Radek says, going pale. "My apologies, I was not aware..."
"Don't worry about it. It's not like you could've known." He shrugs. "Besides, it's been ten thousand years. They're all dead but me anyway."
No one seems to know what to say after that, not even Rodney, who'd known the vague outline of the unintended tragedy that had been John's life before. The most he can do is slip his hand under the table and rest it on his lover's knee and hope it's some small comfort.
When John's joins his a minute later, though, the words start to come:
"What was her name?"
"Who else would I be talking about?" he snorts.
"Alianora Cado Trebal Legata," John says, raising both eyebrows in reply. "Anyone else you want to know about? Grandparents? Great-Grandparents? Fifth cousins seven times removed?"
"Yes," Rodney says dryly, "tell me everything there is to know about your fifth cousins."
"Didn't have any."
"Of course not."
"Had a first cousin once removed, though. Danielia. She taught me how to fly."
"That was mighty nice of her," Carson says, obviously trying to steer the conversation back towards something, well, less likely to contribute to the mental health issues Atlantis likes to accuse John of having.
John lets out a bark of laughter at this. "Nice? No. Genocidal might be a better word to describe her. Brilliant pilot though..." His eyes flick towards the ceiling, than down to his watch. "It's 1318 hours, by the way."