Title: Magic Kingdom
Author: Dr. Dredd
Genre: Humor, teamfic
Pairing: None. Some Caldwell/Weir and Weir/Goofy flirting, though. :-)
Spoilers: Second season, up to Coup D'Etat
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, characters, concept, etc, aren't mine. Bloody heck.
"Disneyworld?" The head military officer of Atlantis looked at the expedition leader like she was nuts. They were sitting in the lounge on the Daedalus, planning for their imminent arrival on Earth.
"Disneyworld," Elizabeth said firmly. "We're back home for the first time in God knows how long, we're forbidden by General O'Neill from entering the SGC until we've had a week of downtime, and I've never been to Disneyworld."
"Sounds like an incredible waste of time," Rodney interjected. "But don't let that stop you from enjoying yourselves at the American taxpayer's expense."
"What the hell do you care? You're Canadian!"
Rodney snapped his fingers and pointed at John. "You know, you're right! I would have forgotten."
"Wiseass," replied the colonel. But he was grinning.
Elizabeth leaned forward eagerly, arms on the table in front of her. "So what do you think? Are you guys in?"
"In on what?" asked a deep voice from behind them. Unnoticed by the three at the table, Ronon and Carson had entered the lounge. Ronon looked at them quizzically, and Carson waved as he went to fix himself a cup of tea.
"A trip to Disneyworld," Elizabeth explained, as if every sophisticated person in the Pegasus Galaxy should know that.
"Yeah? We gonna have to go through the Stargate to get there?"
John smirked and Rodney rolled his eyes. Elizabeth gave them both The Death Glare, then turned to Ronon and said, "It's not on a different planet. It's a place on Earth."
The Satedan was still confused. "A world within a world?"
"Oh, for crying out... It's a theme park!" Rodney snapped. "An overpriced tourist trap where parents bring their spoiled kids to go on poorly-engineered thrill rides, buy sweatshop-produced merchandise, and interact with adults desperate for a job who are slowly sweating to death wearing cartoon-character costumes!"
Ronon was silent for a minute, processing what Rodney had said. Then: "Huh?"
John whistled. "That's cynical even for you, McKay!" He turned to the Satedan and whispered conspiratorially, "He was probably scared of Mickey Mouse as a kid."
Now Ronon smirked. "McKay's afraid of a mouse? Yeah, that I can see."
Elizabeth took pity on all of them and explained, "Children on our world like to ride on things that go very fast..."
"Like this child here," Rodney interrupted, smiling smugly at John.
"... so we've created large areas where they can do so. Kids play, parents can either ride or watch, and everyone generally has fun."
"Don't overanalyze it," John advised. "Just see for yourself."
Elizabeth smiled at him sweetly. "Does this mean you'll join me?"
John sighed, realizing that he'd been trapped. "Yeah, I'm in."
Ronon and Carson had also wanted to go, and together they bodily dragged Rodney along with them. He protested vigorously, while continuing to deny that he had been scared of any of the Disney character as a kid. Hermiod gave them all a strange look as they gathered by the transporter, no doubt wishing he had the Asgard version of Valium.
"Well, if we're going to go, let's go already!" Rodney finally snapped.
"We are waiting for one other person," Hermiod said testily. He added a few other words in his own language and Dr. Novak, standing on the other side of the room, turned red and gave a faint hiccup. Not for the first time, Elizabeth wished she knew how to speak Asgard. If nothing else, it might make her sound more formidable during negotiations.
Colonel Caldwell entered the engineering area. "I apologize for being late," he said. For a moment Elizabeth couldn't figure out what was different about him now, but then she realized that she had never seen him in a completely civilian outfit before. Like John, he seemed to favor tight black shirts, and he also wore a pair of blue jeans that hugged his hips quite nicely.
She blushed a bit as she saw the direction her thoughts were taking. Caldwell had probably noticed her enjoying the scenery; he gave her a slight smile as he met her gaze. Elizabeth quickly cleared her throat and said, "Colonel Caldwell! I didn't realize you were coming down with us."
He gestured for her to precede him onto the transporter platform. "Well, I have a little leave time coming, so I figured I'd visit some family in the area."
Hermiod set them down in the VIP lounge of the airport, after checking to be sure that nobody was in the immediate vicinity. John was sure he saw a look of relief on the little alien's face just as the transporter caught them up in its field. Whether it was due to getting rid of all of them or just McKay in particular was anyone's guess.
John grinned as they walked out of the airport and into the warm sun. The weather back in Atlantis was generally pretty good, but a little cooler than he liked. And given a choice between a Florida hurricane and an Atlantean superstorm, he'd take the first one any day.
By the time they settled into their hotel, it was early evening. They had booked three rooms. John and Rodney were sharing one. (John had asked Carson for something to stop Rodney's snoring. The physician had suggested a pillow, and Rodney, in turn, threatened divine retribution with sheep shears.) Carson and Ronon were sharing the second, and Elizabeth had the third room all to herself. (Rank had its privileges.) Although they briefly discussed the merits of a trip to the bar, everyone decided instead to call it a night and get an early start the next morning.
Their hotel was connected by monorail to the main part of the park, and they were on the second one of the morning. They would have taken the first, but Carson turned out not to be a morning person and had to be coaxed awake with the smell of coffee. By the time they reached the park gates, though, all had firmly rejoined the land of the living.
"I can't believe how expensive this is!" said John after they had cleared the ticket booths.
"I told you nobody would believe Ronon was twelve," Rodney grumbled.
"Why are you looking at me like that? It was worth a try!"
"They might have believed that you were over sixty-five, Rodney," Carson said sweetly. "Your overall physical condition and receding hairline would have done it."
"Oh, very funny. Mock the guy who makes nuclear weapons for a living!"
"Why don't you say that a little louder," John said sarcastically. "I don't think everyone in the state heard you."
"Anyway, I told you I was going to get even for the sheep jokes," the physician chimed in.
Rodney threw his hands up in defeat and didn't say anything else. But the colonel saw a gleam in his eye that did not bode well for the hot water in his quarters back home. He figured that he might as well ignore Rodney for the moment, since he was already screwed.
John turned to see Elizabeth flirting with Goofy. The life-sized cartoon character had taken her hand and drawn it to his lips for a kiss. She was batting her eyelashes and pretending to swoon. Carson chuckled softly. "I can't remember the last time I saw Elizabeth this relaxed. The poor lass was well on the way to giving herself an ulcer."
John laughed. "I think you could say that for all of us. Yourself included!"
"Aye, that's probably true," the Scot admitted. "It's been a rough year. I'm glad we decided to join her on this little trip."
Ronon caught John's eye. He looked at Elizabeth and the costumed actor who was daring to touch her, then looked back at the colonel as if to signal an attack. John snorted. "Easy there, Chewie. This is supposed to be fun, remember?"
The Satedan bared his teeth in a feral grin. "It IS fun for me."
John rolled his eyes. "Well, I don't think our fearless leader would be amused, so knock it off."
Carson was having as much fun watching his friends as seeing the sights. Elizabeth wasn't the only one blowing off some steam. John and Rodney were in rare form as they snarked at each other, and they managed to get some jabs at him, too.
"Yes, Colonel, we know you want to go on Space Mountain. What, isn't your hair wild enough for you already?"
"Don't worry, Rodney. After I'm done we can go on 'It's a Small World'."
Carson tried not to flinch. He'd heard about that ride. The mind-numbing repetition of the song might even be more effective than Wraith mind-control at breaking a person's will. That or the Barney song, anyway.
"You're just saying that because you don't want to tour the Haunted Mansion. You're probably afraid of a witch turning you into a toad, or something."
John turned and winked at Carson. "Nah. Didn't the doc already do that?"
Very well. If the colonel could make light of it, so could he. "Technically it was more like a newt than a toad."
John, Rodney, and Elizabeth chorused, "BUT HE GOT BETTER!"
Ronon had crossed his arms over his chest and was looking down at them with his "Earthlings sure are strange" expression. The physician raised an amused eyebrow, although inwardly he was fighting a shudder. The scar on John's arm was fading, but his own scars from the retrovirus incident were still too raw for him to feel completely comfortable making jokes about it.
Rodney gave him a shrewd glance and an almost imperceptible nod. "Hmmph," he said, pretending to be upset. "I notice you all didn't tell him to be quiet." Carson was grateful. If anyone could know how he felt at the moment, it would be the other scientist.
"That's because it's much more fun to tell you to shut up," John sniped back. To Carson's relief, everyone's attention shifted from him to the other two men. After a few minutes, they all started walking toward Frontierland. Apparently Ronon had stepped in and broken the standoff between John and Rodney.
As they went, the physician felt another hand slip into his own. It was Elizabeth's. "Are you all right?" she asked.
"John and I have been talking," she continued. "He wishes he knew what to say to convince you to stop beating yourself up."
"I know, love," Carson looked up to meet her concerned eyes. "I've seen him tease Rodney about Doranda, and I know they've gotten over that, but..."
"But it's hard, I know. Try to forgive yourself, though. We do."
Carson smiled and squeezed Elizabeth's hand. They didn't say anything else. They didn't need to.
"What did you say this was?" The Satedan looked cautiously at the snack they'd bought for him.
"It's ice cream, Ronon," John replied patiently. "You've had it before and you love it, if the missing Ben and Jerry's from the last shipment was any indication."
Ronon tore the paper off his ice cream pop. "Ice cream on a stick. Is that anything like the 'MALP on a stick' you mentioned?"
Rodney immediately started choking on his own food, and Carson slapped him on the back with an ease that suggested they'd done this routine before. Meanwhile, Ronon was grinning like this had been his intention all along. Elizabeth wished she could be a fly on the wall to see some of the antics they engaged in when she wasn't around.
Oh well, at least they were all having fun. She was glad to be able to spend some time with her friends away from the life and death stresses of the Pegasus galaxy. And introducing an alien to the experiences of Earth life was proving to be amusing in ways she'd never even imagined.
As if reading her mind, Ronon said, "It's too bad Teyla's not here." She had chosen to spend some time on the mainland rather than take an extended trip to Earth. Elizabeth knew that the Athosian still hadn't quite gotten over the loss of Charin and was seeking solace in the company of her people.
"Cheer up, big guy," John told him. "You can always bring her a pair of Mickey Mouse ears." And that started another round of explanations. She'd never had any younger brothers, but she imagined that they would act something like this.
"Excuse me," said a tiny voice. Elizabeth looked down to find a little girl, probably about four years old, standing next to the table where they were having lunch. She had reddish-blonde hair, and her face was covered with tear-stains.
"Can you help me find my daddy?"
"Of course, sweetheart," Elizabeth responded with a reassuring smile. She hadn't had any younger brothers, but she did have one younger sister and remembered how scary it was when her sibling got lost. "Where was the last place you saw him?"
The little girl considered for a minute, then pointed vaguely toward the park entrance. "I think it was that way." Her lower lip trembled, and she was probably only a minute away from crying again.
"Aww, don't cry, honey," John jumped in. He bent down so that he was at eye level with the child. "I'm John, and these are my friends Elizabeth, Carson, Rodney, and Ronon. What's your name?"
"Tina," she sniffled.
"That's a pretty name. Don't worry, Tina. Let's go find your dad."
John continued to chat with the little girl, putting her at ease. He found out that she was a military brat like he had been. Her mother had died a few years ago and her father was only home very rarely. Eventually Tina slipped her hand into John's as they walked.
Ronon and Rodney walked behind the pair, and Elizabeth and Carson brought up the rear. The physician nudged Elizabeth good-naturedly. "He's good with the wee ones, isn't he?" Raising his voice, he added, "Better than some others I could think of."
"I heard that!" the physicist complained.
"Yes, Rodney, you were supposed to!"
Elizabeth chuckled. "He does indeed seem to be good with children, Carson. I suspect it's because in many ways he's still a kid himself."
"Aye, that must be it."
They headed toward the information center in the Cinderella Castle, figuring that anyone looking for a lost child would go to that central location. Elizabeth decided that she was going to suggest a break after this. She was getting tired, and rather wanted to go back to the hotel. It had a nice pool, and she was looking forward to trying out a brand new bathing suit she had bought the last time she was on Earth. Somehow there just never seemed to be an opportunity to go swimming in the Pegasus galaxy, even though she lived on a floating city!
"Oh, thank God. Someone found her!" said a familiar voice.
Tina looked up at the source. "Daddy!" she cried happily and ran over to a tall, muscular bald man...
"Hello, Colonel Caldwell," Elizabeth said in an amused drawl. "Fancy meeting you here."
He looked up. "Dr. Weir!" he exclaimed, startled. Then he relaxed a bit as he hugged Tina. "I can't believe it. Of all the people who could have found my lost daughter..."
She smiled. "It really is 'a small world after all'," she said, ignoring Carson's heartfelt groan. "Would you and Tina like to join us for dinner, Stephen?" she asked.
Caldwell looked down at his daughter. "We'd love to," he agreed pleasantly. Then a wicked grin crossed his face. "I'm sure I can find something... suitable to wear."
Elizabeth doubted the heat she could feel on her face had anything to do with the Florida sun.
A/N: I thought the gang could use a break...