Summary: Thanksgiving on Atlantis
A/N: In response to the Thanskgiving Challenge! Warning...tis very strange..
"Okay, now remember, this bird ain't dead, it's just knocked out," Aiden told Jacob Beans, a scientist who, for some crazy reason also had a degree in the culinary arts, "And it took us forever to get this one."
Indeed, they had traveled a long way on foot with a couple of Athosian hunters to find the nesting grounds of this particular bird. And, despite the warnings of the Athosians, who hadn't been able to catch the critters, he and Bates had proceeded to try anyway. Finally, after some nice holes made in the ground by an agitated Bates--courtesy of a supply of C4--Aiden had decided to use some knock-out gas.
So, five hours later, covered in mud, vines and inumerable cuts, bruises and scrapes, Aiden had plopped the red and gold plumaged bird on the counter in the kitchen space and was now giving Jacob the warning. And all of this just because Major Sheppard had mentioned to Dr. Weir that a year in Atlantis constituted a celebration. So, Aiden had opened his own big mouth and commented on how similar it was to The First Thanksgiving, that Americans celebrated.
He sighed. If he had known how much trouble it was going to cause, he never would have said a word, because the major had then gone directly to the Athosians and asked if they had seen a bird that was similar to a turkey. He even drew a picture of one, using his hand like elementary school kids did. They had, it turned out, and Aiden and Bates were sent on their great mission.
Jacob waved him off impatiently, and Ford shrugged. His job was over, and now he just had to sit back and wait for the feast along with everyone else.
Jacob Beans whistled merrily as he prepared the carving knives. First, he'd chop the bird's head off, then he'd begin the plucking process. It was a lot harder than it sounded, but having grown up on a farm and preparing his fair share of chickens and turkeys, he knew exactly what he was doing.
He began singing a lovely French tune that he thought suited the occasion well. The bird was rather beautifully colored. It was bright red, like a cardinal, but had a golden tinge to it...with gold wingtips and tail feathers. It actually looked more like a peacock than a turkey, but oh well.
"Allouette, gentille Allouette, je te plumerer..."
He grinned as his voice fell into a gentle humming and turned with the huge cleaver, only to find that the bird was gone. He looked around frantically, and his eye caught the sight of brightly colored tail feathers disappearing around the doorframe.
"Crap! The bird's escaped! Lieutenant Ford! Help!"
Aiden jerked his head around and gaped as the bird he'd worked so hard to capture ran past him, fluting wildly in panic. He hadn't even had time to clean up yet! Damn it! He pulled his gun from its holster and took off after it, Dr. Beans coming up behind him, weilding a giant knife like a sword.
Leman ran as fast as she could through the corridors of the city of the Creators, trying to escape the humans, but not wanting to lose them too quickly. It was always amusing to lead them on in a chase, but for once she was afraid she might not get away. Stupid humans, why had they brought her here anyway? Surely they weren't going to eat her? This was exactly why the Creators hadn't let any of them stay on the planet where the city was at.
Too bad the Creators were gone. They'd have put a stop to this mess instantly. Leman and her people were created to protect the humans, but the stupid creatures couldn't understand that. Stupid creatures. Feh.
A projectile wizzed by her head and she cursed soundly at her own distraction, resolving to be more aware of her surroundings. Spreading her wings, she slowed herself enough that the two, no three now, humans ran past her. Then she ducked into a room and hid beneath a desk, only to back away when she realized there was yet another of the bipeds just sitting around.
"A phoenix!" it cried suddenly.
Leman stared at it in surprise. She could never remember which was the female and which was male, but figured this one was male, because its voice was so deep. Then again, she could be wrong. Until she was sure, she'd call it a he. Whatever gender he was, he had known what she was on sight. Was he one of the Inheritors? Or had he just come across the information while messing around with technology that was far beyond his understanding?
"I don't believe it..." he got off the thing he was sitting on, and knelt down so that he was on eye level with her, "I mean, I know a lot of the legends on Earth were based in fact and we've seen proof of that...but...an honest to goodness phoenix?"
Leman blinked slightly and stepped closer to him, afraid he was going to hurt himself, he was breathing so hard from his excitment. She sent out a soothing aura, and watched as he instantly calmed down. Then he smiled and gently ran his hand down her back.
"It feels so...warm...not at all like a parrot's..."
"Dr. McKay, you caught it!"
Leman cursed again, and started to run, but her escape was cut off. The three humans who had been chasing her stood in the door, completely blocking it.
"Thank's Dr. McKay," the one with the weapon said, "Just hold it still and don't let it..."
"You're going to kill it!" her human, the one they called Dr. McKay cried out, "No, no, I can't let you do that! Do you realize what this is? It could be the greatest discovery we've come up with yet! It's a phoenix."
"Dr. McKay..." the first one began, "I don't think..."
"I'm quite aware of that lieutenant, but everyone seems to like having you around anyway."
The first one glared at her human. "Look, McKay, I just spent FIVE hours chasing that thing. And I'm not gonna let you..."
"You'll have to go through me first," McKay said, grabbing her gently and holding her to his chest. She squawked in protest, though she was rather glad he was trying to protect her.
"Fine by me..."
"That's enough, Lieutenant," the third man said suddenly, amusement lacing his voice.
"But sir I..."
"No no, we'll just let McKay have fun with his new pet..." Leman felt her feathers ruffle at the term. As if an advanced being such as herself could be any human's pet! "And find something else for the feast. Turkey sandwiches sound good to anyone?"
The man with the weapon grumbled, still holding it threateningly. "And the Athosian's have recommended a nice deer like animal that they've caught many times. I'm sure you can think of something to do with it, eh, Dr. Beans?"
"Yes, yes I...suppose, Major..."
"Good. Have, fun McKay..."
The three of them left and Leman breathed out a sigh of relief. Well, apparently they all respected the one called Major, so now perhaps she could observe the humans without reserve. She turned her head slightly and gazed at McKay, who looked right back at her, curiosity coming off him in waves.
"Don't worry, I won't let them hurt you, my friend..."
Leman sent him her appreciation, and he grinned. Then, he frowned. "Are you telepathic? No no...empathic...that makes more sense. That's incredible. And do you know what I'm saying? You do, don't you. That's even more incredible. How could they have even considered..."
Leman relaxed in his arms, amused as she let him clamor on about whatever he was talking about.
The Next Day...
Rodney sat at a table in the mess hall, taking pieces of food and slipping it under the table to his new friend. Somehow he had discerned that it was a she, and that her name was Leman. And that she was incredibly intelligent. She had kept him from making a fatal mistake with some Ancient technology, making him wonder if the Ancients had anything to do with her species.
He had tried asking her that, but other than giving him little bits of encouragement, or letting him know what she was feeling and what he'd already figured out about her...she wouldn't give him anything else. He sighed and gave her a piece of brocoli covered in cheese sauce, when she let him know that she really liked that.
He glanced around the mess hall, grimacing as he noticed all the brightly colored signs hanging everywhere, proclaiming "Happy Thanksgiving!" with little turkeys drawn everywhere. How could Elizabeth have agreed to this? And where was she? She had made this a mandatory gathering, for Athosian and Atlantean alike, she should be here. Sitting next to him. So he could show off Leman.
He hadn't had a chance to tell her about the phoenix since she had been busy cooridinating the whole feast thing. And he really wanted to share his new friend with his best friend. While everyone else made fun of him, she'd understand. She always did. He felt a warm glow , as always seemed to happen whenever he thought of Elizabeth Weir, and smiled. She'd be here.
He grabbed a carrot off his plate when Leman nudged his leg impatiently, and was in the act of handing it to her when Dr. Beans thunked a carving knife down on the table right in front of his plate. Rodney scowled at the man and looked up.
"Just what is your problem, Beans? I'm trying to eat here."
The scientist scowled right back at him. "I was a little upset when you took that bird as your pet, but I will not have you feeding it at my table! Get the nasty thing out of here!"
Rodney, indignant on Leman's behalf--literally since she had projected it on him--stood up, brandishing the carrot like a sword. "Leman is not a nasty thing. In fact, she's got more brains in her feather tips than you do in your entire body, Beans." As he spoke, he shook the carrot in the man's face. Unfortunately, as he said 'Beans' he shook it a little harder than necessary and it went flying from his fingertips.
The airborn vegetable soared through the air a good fifty feet and landed with a plop in a large bowl of mashed potatoes. A large bowl of mashed potatoes that just so happened to be sitting in front of Major Sheppard. The starchy food splattered out of the bowl, covering the major with it.
Sheppard gingerly picked up the carrot, and turned around, rightly guessing where it had come from. A slow grin appeared on his face as he lifted the bowl of potatoes and lobbed it in Rodney's direction. Rodney ducked, and it went past his head, plastering Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh, thinking the major had started it, took up some of the brocoli. He missed however, but Ford did look rather stunning covered in cheese...
Someone from the crowd suddenly shouted "Food fight!" and Rodney quickly ducked under the table with Leman, as Beans was pelted with flying food. Then, before his table mates could grab it, quickly took his plate and pulled it down with him.
"I'm starving," he explained to Leman, who tilted her head and stared at him out of one beady black eye.
Overhead, food wizzed by at a steady pace, some people, like Rodney, using the tables as a refuge.
It was to this that Elizabeth walked in. She blinked as what looked like a piece of sweet potatoe pie flew past, nearly hitting her. She opened her mouth to ask what the hell was going on, when an arm snaked around her waist and pulled her down, beneath a table. She was too suprised to protest at first, but when the arm left her, she turned to blast the person.. The scold died on her lips when she saw that it was Rodney.
"What's going on?" She asked instead.
She arched an eyebrow at him, and with a great amount of effort kept the amused grin from her face. He was adorable when he was being facetious. "I can see that, Rodney," she told him, "I meant, why is there a food fight?"
"Oh...well...I may have inadvertantly started it, but it wasn't my fault! That idiot Beans was trying to threaten my friend Leman, she's a phoenix. Isn't she pretty? She's incredibly intelligent. I'd say even more than me."
Elizabeth looked at the handsomely plumaged bird that was giving her an amused look, and allowed Rodney to change the subject.
"She's very pretty," Elizabeth agreed, then winced as a piece of some kind of fruit landed very near to where she was sitting.
Rodney frowned slightly, his eyes staring off into the distance. Then he nodded and looked at her. "C'mon. Let's get out of here." He grabbed her hand, the plate he'd been cradling like a baby and pulled her to her feet."
Then, they began running for the door, the bird close behind them. Several times Elizabeth ducked when something came flying towards them, but after the first few, she realized that something was deflecting it. She raised an eyebrow and looked back at the phoenix. A feeling of smug content washed over her.
"She's empathic," Rodney explained, correctly interpreting Elizabeth's questioning look. "I've got plenty of food. Let's go to my lab and we'll have dinner there, okay?"
Elizabeth nodded, feeling oddly pleased that he would actually share his precious food with her.
Rodney smiled at Elizabeth and sat down on the floor cross legged, making a sort of picnic out of it. When he'd said he had enough food, he meant it. His plate was piled full of the deer-like meat, and other things, including desert.
"I hope you don't mind that it's all mixed together," he said, "Because I'm afraid it's the best I could do."
"I don't mind," she told him quickly, "Although, maybe if you hadn't started a food fight..."
Rodney flushed and looked down at his plate, then grinned up at her sheepishly. "Yeah...well...it wouldn't be the first time. Me, carrots and a full cafeteria just don't mix."
"Uh...here," he changed the subject again, "Try this..." he put his forkful of pie up to her mouth, practically forcing her to eat it.
"That's delicious," she murmured.
He grinned, then frowned when she suddenly leaned forward and licked the corner of his lips. "Um...what...?"
Elizabeth blushed slightly, and looked down at the plate, avoiding his gaze. "Sorry...you had something...it was bothering me..."
Rodney pushed the plate aside, so that it wouldn't be smushed, then crushed Elizabeth to him in a passionate embrace. Her mouth tasted of the sweet fruit from the pie. So much nicer than any food he'd had before....
Leman settled herself in a corner to watch the two humans interact. She'd never before seen a mating ritual, and it was of great interest to her. She couldn't wait to tell Segan. He would be so jealous. He'd been trying to tell everyone that he knew more about the humans than anyone else. Well, now she would have seen it first hand.