Summary: Easter in Atlantis.
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: Thanks to girlinthetrilby and musesfool for the beta duties.
Original story: The Hunt by akire_yta
The Hunt (Purple Nurple Remix)
Two Days to Go
Rodney looked scary when he burst into John's office, and not just because his hair was sticking up all crazy and weird. "Okay," he said, slamming his giant plastic coffee mug down on John's desk. "Who told Ronon about noogies?"
John had to duck his head and focus really hard on his computer screen so he wouldn’t laugh. "I have no idea."
When he glanced up, Rodney was glaring at him as he tried to smooth his hair down. "Right," he said. "He only spends more time with you than anyone else in the whole city, so I'm sure you're clueless."
"Completely without a clue," John agreed. Time for a subject change: "You ready?"
"Yes, but I still don't understand why we have to do this," Rodney said, giving the top of his head one last pat. He'd done a pretty good job with his hair, except for one piece that was sticking out of the side of his head like a horn. John considered mentioning it. "There is no Jesus in Pegasus, you know."
"You can't cancel Easter, Rodney," John said. "And Lorne and Beckett already talked up the candy part to the kids. Elizabeth thinks they'll enjoy it. Therefore, we do it."
"There are other people in the city whose time is less valuable. Actually, I'm pretty sure a few of my lab techs would be perfectly happy to spend an afternoon filling plastic eggs with candy."
"We already had this conversation," John told him. "Just be glad you don't have to wear a bunny suit."
Rodney scowled, but the bunny suit threat must have worked, because he remained surprisingly quiet as John handed him his big mug and herded him back out the door.
Teyla was going the other way in the corridor, walking with one of the marines. He nodded in greeting, but kept going when she stopped to talk to Rodney and John.
"What happened to your hair?" she asked Rodney.
"Christ!" Rodney said, batting at his own head some more. "Ronon happened, that's what."
"Ah," Teyla said, as if that explained it all. It probably did. "I am meeting Ronon for his meditation session. You are welcome to join us."
"Thanks, but we have to work on the stuff for the party," John said. "We'll see you at dinner."
"I will not be joining you this evening," Teyla said. "I have made other plans." Her eyes flicked past them, to where the marine was not-so-subtly waiting for her at the end of the corridor.
"Ah, okay," John said, grinning. "Enjoy your meditating and...other plans."
"Thank you," she said, quirking an eyebrow to tell him she knew exactly what he was thinking.
Rodney, who had just caught on, looked at the marine and said, "Huh. Wait, is that the guy who was invisible for three days last year after he ate those mushrooms?"
"Let's go, Rodney." John gave him a nudge to get him moving. "See you later, Teyla."
"Goodbye," Teyla said. She eyed Rodney's hair one last time before walking away.
"I think that is the invisible guy," Rodney said when they were out of earshot.
"I hope Ronon tries to give Teyla a noogie. That's an ass-kicking I'd like to see."
"I don't think he's that stupid. And speak of the devil," John said as they turned the corner by the transporter: Ronon was just stepping out of it.
"You stay away from me!" Rodney said, brandishing his mug as if it would somehow protect him.
Ronon smirked. Rodney sidled through the door, never taking his eyes off him.
The location of the egg-stuffing room was top secret. John had chosen it carefully, making sure it was in a place where no one would stumble on it accidentally. He'd then put out a memo letting everyone know that a completely different area of the city was temporarily off-limits; if anyone got it in their head to go looking, they'd probably start there.
The actual room was in a sub-level directly beneath the gateroom, and it took Rodney several minutes to disable the extra layers of security he'd added to the door. When there was candy in the city, you couldn't be too careful.
The long table in the center of the room was stacked with boxes of Easter candy and colorful plastic eggs, all recent arrivals on the Daedalus. Rodney, for all his (very vocal) reluctance to participate, dove eagerly into the treats, exclaiming over each bag as he dug through the boxes.
"Oooh, Hershey's Kisses!" he said. "And jellybeans!"
"It's not for us," John reminded him.
"I'm serious, McKay."
One Day to Go
When John walked into the mess the next morning, his team appeared to be eating peacefully at their usual table. Like most peaceful things in the Pegasus galaxy, it didn't last long. Just as he reached for a scoop of reconstituted eggs, he heard Rodney's surprised squawk from all the way across the room.
It said a lot about daily life in Atlantis that no one even looked up from their breakfast to see what was going on.
Eggs obtained, John turned around in time to see Rodney bolt from his chair, frantically rubbing his ear and swearing a blue streak.
"Everything okay over here?" John asked as he set his tray down next to Ronon. Rodney had already moved over to sit by Teyla.
"Ronon just performed something called a 'Wet Willy' on Rodney," Teyla informed him. "It looked unpleasant."
"It's very unpleasant," Rodney hissed, glaring at Ronon as he tried to stuff what looked like the entire sleeve of his jacket into his ear.
"You finish your things for the party?" Ronon asked, oblivious to Rodney's mutterings.
"Yeah, they're all done," John said.
"All six thousand of them," Rodney grumbled.
"Six dozen," John corrected, squirting ketchup all over his scrambled eggs. Rodney glanced at John's tray and made a moue of disgust. Ronon looked intrigued.
"And you will hide them later today?" Teyla asked.
"Yes, and I'm going back after the party to claim any the little ankle-biters don't find," Rodney said. He bit into his muffin like it was pissing him off, still glaring at Ronon.
It was officially called the "Spring Holiday Party," because several cultures--some Earth-based, some not--were represented, but it was no secret that the Athosian kids were most looking forward to the hunt for candy. For the adults, it was mainly an excuse to eat and drink.
Ronon had procured some kind of drink that looked like it might be lethal to the elderly and infirm, and John and Rodney had foolishly agreed, without talking to Teyla about it first, to try some. It turned out the stuff was infamous in the Pegasus galaxy, and they'd been trying to weasel out of it every since, with no luck. Teyla seemed to find the whole thing hilarious.
While Rodney was working on the latest weaseling, John and Teyla started talking about what the Athosians were planning for the party, and pretty soon Ronon and Rodney had joined in and it was a memory lane free-for-all. They traded some stories while Rodney finished his cantaloupe cubes, and John wasn't the least bit surprised to hear family strife and culinary disasters were holiday staples in every galaxy.
The park was one of many in the city, but the only one they'd fixed up so far. Botany and Maintenance had organized groups of volunteers to trim the overgrowth and cart away the dead stuff, and it was pretty nice--it had a pond and a fountain, and even a big gazebo thing in the middle. Walking along one of the shady paths that wound through the trees, it was easy to forget they were floating in the middle of the ocean.
It was a pretty good hike from the nearest building, so John hijacked a transport container for the boxes of eggs. He picked the one labeled "grenades," because he was sick like that.
The hiding went pretty quickly, and was actually kind of fun. John got creative, even wading barefoot into the fountain to put one in the outstretched hand of...whatever that thing in the fountain was. Someone's parents were probably going to hate him when their kid came back with that egg and a pair of wet shoes.
Rodney's were more tricky. He was hiding them in plain sight, putting them in with the flowers and the shrubbery so they blended in, and John accidentally stepped on one while trying to secret one of his own, they were that well hidden. He was sneakier than John had realized.
And scarily observant. "If you think you don't have to share the candy from that egg you just destroyed, you're crazy," Rodney said, not looking up from where he was carefully nestling one of his eggs into a giant pink flower.
"I was gonna share," John insisted, wiping his mouth.
The Day After
Getting out of bed was a little harder than usual the morning after the party. Ronon's drink had been a killer. Even though John wasn't that hungry, he gnawed on an energy bar as he tied his running shoes, hurrying. Ronon was probably already waiting for him, pacing and punching the air.
As he trotted past the gateroom, Rodney was coming up the stairs, poking away at this tablet.
"Morning," John said.
"Hi," Rodney said, not looking up. "Enjoy your run."
John did a double-take, looking back over his shoulder as he jogged on, because it was so different from Rodney's normal commentary about running, which revolved mainly around shin splints and Jim Fixx. But Rodney was scowling at his tablet and didn't even seem to realize he'd said anything out of the ordinary.
An hour later, John limped into Rodney's lab, fuming. "That was dirty," he said, tugging on his shorts, with little hope it would do much good. It would probably take the Jaws of Life to get his underwear out of his asscrack.
Rodney smiled and kept typing. "It's not my fault you neglected to tell him about wedgies."