Title: Rituals

Author: Grey Lupous

Summary: Rodney and John, yet again, in another tight spot.

Disclaimer: If I owned Stargate, Rodney, or John, this sort of thing would happen often, almost on a weekly basis. Alas I do not, although one day... one day I assure you...

Spoilers: None!

Author's Notes: Somehow I got the image of John making faces of a shirtless Rodney out of my mind, and it didn't leave... thus, this. Unbeta'd quick fic, read at your own risk.

"Oh god, that's just awful," Sheppard made a disgusted face as he was blinded by the monstrosity that could only be known as McKay's bare chest. "Where are my sunglasses?"

"Hardee har har!" Rodney shouted as his shirt was unceremoniously tossed in a bonfire in front of him. He really had liked that shirt. There was such a limited supply on clothing in his size, unless he wanted to risk going to the Athosian tailor. Somehow the image of him in shredded leather didn't seem appealing, even to him.

"And I thought being drugged and captured was bad enough," Sheppard continued to gripe.

"Hey! At least you still have your shirt!"

"Shhh!" Somehow the noise made it all the way across the distance separating them. He nervously glanced between the two tall females eyeing him appreciatively. He directed a glare at McKay. "Don't give them any ideas."

McKay lifted his lip up into a snarl, since any more offensive gestures would have required use of his hands, which were currently tied behind his back. The little vixen who had removed his shirt was talented, to say the least. "Instead of making fun of my inability to tan, why don't you do something to get us out of this?"

Sheppard glanced between his two gorgeous captors and gave them a dazzling smile. "Would it be possible at all for us to just go along our merry way? You can even keep McKay's shirt."

"It's already gone!" McKay sputtered, and then paled as the blonde who had taken his shirt approached him slowly. He gulped. Normally, this would be something out of one of his more wild fantasies, replacing her face with Colonel Carter's of course. She continued to approach and he shimmied backwards on his knees. "N-now don't come any closer..."

"Oh calm down McKay, I don't think she's going to eat you."

"She's going for my pants, Major! Now stop flirting with your guards and save my virtue!"

Sheppard glanced at his limbs, spread eagled and tied to something oddly resembling a wagon wheel. "Sure thing."

McKay let out a very unmanly squeak as he tumbled over backwards. Normally this would have driven most women away, but apparently the blonde found it cute and just giggled. "Just be still! The cleansing ceremony is painless!"

McKay normally would have found her little freckled nose and pouty lips cute. This however was not a normal situation. He gulped and flailed his legs in the air as they desperately tried to seek the ground. "I just took a shower this morning! I swear, I'm all clean!"

"Oh calm down McKay, I'm sure it's not bad."

"You want to see me without pants on?" He spat out as he finally righted himself.

Sheppard processed that, and immediately started trying to gnaw his ropes off. "I'm coming!"

The red-head and brunette "guarding" Sheppard glanced at his escape efforts, shrugged, and continued watching the spectacle unfolding before them.

McKay managed to find his footing and with great effort pushed himself into a standing position. He swayed as the blond continued her approach. She reached an arm out towards him and he hopped backwards, nearly losing his balance. "Oh, well take your time!"

And that was how Ford and Teyla found them: Sheppard trying to gnaw his own hand off, and McKay bouncing around the camp like adrunken frog.

Teyla raised her eyebrows, Ford pressed his lips together so he wouldn't laugh. McKay glanced over and saw them watching his plight in amusement and gave a frustrated cry. "Why are you just standing there?"

"You seem to have everything under control," Ford smirked, and glanced over at his commanding officer. "Sir? Uh, what are you doing?"

"Trying to free myself, what does it look like?"

Both Ford and Teyla were at a loss for words.

"Don't answer that! Just stop her! She's trying to take McKay's pants!"

Ford frowned. "What?"

"Lieutenant, that was an order!"

The sharp edge in Sheppard's tone made Ford scramble to join in the chase. Shaking her head Teyla stepped forward, only to be blocked by Sheppard's two guards. She eyed both of them critically, clearly not impressed.

"Please step aside," she kindly asked. "My friend does not wish to be tied up."

"But the cleansing ceremony isn't complete yet!"

McKay yelped as the blonde finally managed to tackle him. "Ford! Hurry!"

Sheppard and Teyla spared the ruckus a look, before turning their attention back to the guards.

"The 'cleansing ceremony' is over, I'm afraid. Major Sheppard and Doctor McKay are needed elsewhere." Teyla stepped out into what Sheppard recognized as one of her defensive postures.

The two women exchanged glances, trying to decide if taking Teyla on was a good idea, before stepping aside as one. Sheppard exhaled a deep sigh as Teyla stepped forward and made quick work of the ropes holding him up with her knife. He rubbed his chafed wrists and gave her a thankful nod. She smiled graciously back.

"Ford! That is not helpful!"

Curious, Sheppard peered around Teyla to see what the commotion was about.

There McKay lay on the ground, the blonde's arms wrapped securely around his torso, with Ford trying to dislodge her by shaking, rattling McKay in the process. With a shrug to Teyla, Sheppard stepped forward. "Guess we have to finish rescuing him."

"That would be best," she agreed with a small smile.

"All right McKay, fun time is over. We were supposed to be back at the gate fifteen minutes ago."

"Does this look like fun?" McKay snapped, and his eyes widened as one of the hands started exploring. "Hey! Hey! Back off Blondie!"

With a final tug Ford managed to pry the blonde off of McKay. She triumphantly held up the belt she'd managed to unbuckle to her fellow kidnappers. They both let out appreciative whoops, and retreated into the surrounding woods. The blonde kicked Ford in the shin and scattered off into the foliage as he clutched it in pain.

"Exactly what was that all about?" Ford grimaced as he rubbed his shin.

Sheppard slipped off his jacket and offered it to McKay, making it obvious that he was avoiding looking at the scientist's chest. "You really don't want to know."

"What was it?" Teyla asked seeing Sheppard's embarrassed look.

"Back on Earth," McKay cleared his throat nervously as he looked at everyone but Sheppard, "we have these things called airports."

Teyla nodded encouragingly.

"Where you board aircrafts to travel from one place to another," McKay zipped up the jacket and looked at Teyla with the same expression as Sheppard. "Well security there is really tight and—"

"Wait a second," Ford interrupted. "You're telling me this is the Pegasus Galaxy's equivalent of the travel security administration?"

Sheppard found an interesting tree to look at, while McKay reluctantly nodded. Ford let out a high pitched chuckle that was almost a giggle. "What happened?"

"The Major made an inappropriate joke about Genii nukes," McKay glared evilly at Sheppard.

Ford snorted and watched as Sheppard continued his search of the trees. "Is that all?"

"No, when the guards got pushy he so valiantly decided to bring me down with him."

Teyla raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"Yes, something about me being able to MacGyver a bomb out of my belt and hidden things on my person."

Ford lost all self-control at that and was reduced to a cackling fit. Teyla tapped her chin as she looked at the bonfire, wheel, and gauged the distance to the gate.

"If this is a security check for gate travel, why were we not searched at the gate?" Teyla asked sweetly. "Or for that matter, why were Lieutenant Ford and I not detained?"

McKay paused, blinked, and would have crossed his arms if they weren't still tied behind his back. "Shut up." A beat. "And untie me."

Teyla smiled but obliged him.

"Let's go," Sheppard groused and led the way back to the gate at a very swift pace. "And not a word of this once we get back on Atlantis."

"Ah," Teyla motioned to McKay's partially disrobed state. "Won't Dr. Weir wonder why Dr. McKay is wearing your jacket, Major? That could lead to... rumors."

Sheppard raised an eyebrow.

"I believe Sergeant Wilmington told me of a ritual on your planet where young adolescents shared their jackets with their significant others."

Sheppard pierced Teyla with a dark look, before increasing his pace, muttering something barely audible.

"What did he say?" She wrinkled her brow.

"I think he told you," Ford managed through the occasional snicker, "to shut up."

Teyla had the grace to look flabbergasted as the eldest members of the team stomped on ahead of them. She shook her head as the behavior of Earth men once again eluded her. They were strange creatures indeed.