Pairing: mild John/Rodney pre-slash
Word count: 864
Wouldn’t you like to be orange too?
"Yeah, but the taste and texture are exactly the same."
"It’s orange, Sheppard. You can’t say that the mess hall is serving ‘roast turkey’ for Christmas dinner when in actuality the meat on our plates will be orange."
"Okay, fine. The mess hall will be roasting and serving those six-legged things from PX6-192 that have exactly the same taste and texture as turkey..."
"Except for the slight detail that their flesh is orange..."
"...and Ronon and Teyla and I will be having dinner together and would like you to join us."
"Which is what I usually do except when important work prevents me! If I can be there, your invitation is redundant because I would have been there anyway. If I can’t be there, your invitation is useless, because, hello? Important work."
"Rawdnee’ing me is not going to change the facts, Colonel! And no, neither is pouting! I’ll be there if I can be."
John pounced. "Thanks, buddy, I’ll hold you to that."
"Hold me to what? Wait, what do you think I said?"
"You promised me that you’d be there if you could..."
"...which I will if I can!"
"And since we’ve all seen you pull miracles out of your ass before, I know you can do this, which means you’ll be there."
With which John threw the sputtering scientist a grin and got the hell out of the lab before Rodney could start shooting holes in his reasoning.
It wasn’t as if John had ever been all that big on the whole Christmas extravaganza himself. But now that he had the closest thing to a family he’d had in years, he found he wanted to celebrate. Gathering your family in close at a dark time of the year made sense to him in a way it hadn’t before – as did other things. The truth was that life in the Pegasus galaxy had changed him in ways both good and bad. If he had to accept the latter, he’d damn well enjoy the former.
So although John was not about to hang Christmas tree ornaments from his ears (like one of the female botanists), put red and green LEDs in his hair (like one of the male chemists – John didn’t ask) or admit to owning a red-and-green-striped sweater (like one of the younger Marines – his mom had knitted it for him), he wanted to have Christmas dinner with his team, and Rodney was going to be there. It was only fair, since Rodney had been part of this from the very start, from the first moment John saw him bustling around the control room in Antarctica, brilliant in orange fleece.
John sometimes wondered what had happened to that fleece. Rodney had looked cuddly in it. Well, even cuddlier.
"He said he’d be here, he’ll be here."
"Want me to go get him?"
"Nope. He’ll be here."
"Ronon, I believe that John wishes to give Rodney an opportunity to demonstrate his good faith."
"Okay, but if he doesn’t get here in time for dessert, can I have his share?"
"Forget it, Chewie, your if-statement’s just become invalid," snapped Rodney as he slid in next to John.
John turned to rag him about being late, but what came out of John’s mouth instead was, "McKay, you’re wearing that."
"What? I know it’s not the traditional holiday colours, but if the turkey can be orange, so can my clothing. Anyway, I looked all through my drawers and closets, and I couldn’t find anything red and green. I found this in the back, it must have fallen down behind the other stuff, I haven’t seen it since Antarctica. It was either wear this or trade – what’s his name, one of your guys – for that sweater he says his mother made him, and I wasn’t about to waste good chocolate that way."
"You mean you not only made it to Christmas dinner with the team, you dressed up for the occasion?" John raised one eyebrow, and damned if Rodney didn’t flush and start to look away. "Buddy?" He waited until Rodney was looking directly back at him. "Thank you."
"Uh, thanks?" Then Rodney kept looking at him.
"I thank you for coming as well, Rodney. And that colour is becoming to you." John found himself catching his breath as Rodney turned away to answer Teyla.
"Thank you, Teyla."
"Pretty bright, though – hard to hide." Ronon speared another chunk of orange turkey and continued to study the fleece as he chewed.
"I wasn’t going to wear it in the field, and anyway, it’s the responsibility of you warrior-types to protect..." began Rodney.
"But he’s so loud that hiding him’s already impossible, so it’s no loss," concluded Ronon.
"Fine, I’ll remind you that you said that the next time... Sheppard, what are you smirking about?"
"Dunno," shrugged John.
And he didn’t know, except that it was Christmas. And his family was eating orange turkey together. And Rodney was looking cuddly in his orange fleece. Life was, at least for the moment, very good.
- 30 -
Note: Title stolen from a line in flyakate’s October and February.