Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis isn't mine.
Thanks to my sister for beta-ing
"I'm telling you, it's impossible!"
"Apparently it is possible, or we would not be discussing it at this moment."
"But just look at it! I mean, it defies the laws of physics!"
"Did you not say the same thing about Duranda?"
"This is different – wait, how did you know that, you weren't there… Never mind, I don't want to know. But for gosh sakes, look at it! It should be lying down! I mean, he's soaking wet and muddy! It's like the laws of gravity don't apply to him!"
"Dr. McKay, are you not exaggerating the… resilience… of Colonel Sheppard's hair?"
Dr. Rodney McKay gave his companion an outraged look. "Exaggerating? Look at it! There is no way that real hair can still stick up like that after the kind of abuse it went through! It's like he's got a separate entity attached to his head!"
Teyla Emmagan glanced ahead of them. She and the rest of the team were walking on a dirt path that lead to the Stargate. A very muddy Colonel Sheppard was a few meters away from them, obviously eager to get home. "Perhaps Colonel Sheppard did not get as much mud on his head as you think," she suggested.
Rodney gave her an exasperated look. "Are you kidding me? Look at him!"
Sighing, Teyla sent one more glance at Sheppard. He was covered from head to toe in mud. His hair was saturated with it – but it was still sticking up in a nonchalant, casual way that so matched his personality. "I still believe that you are becoming agitated over nothing," she informed McKay.
Teyla saw Ronon grin a few meters away, amused by the indignation that was provoked in McKay by her words.
"I'm not getting agitated. But he has to be doing something to it. It's just unnatural," said McKay, waving his hands as he talked.
"What are you suggesting?" Teyla asked. "The colonel has already repeatedly claimed that he does not use… 'hair styling gel'." Her tongue tripped slightly over the last phrase, unaccustomed to the strange combination of words. Or the concept, for that matter. She still did not understand why Earth men would use this… gel… on their hair.
"Well, he must be lying," muttered McKay.
"Why would he do that?" asked Ronon.
"How am I supposed to know? But I'm going to find out once and for all," said McKay determinedly.
"How?" Ronon demanded gruffly.
"You'll see," McKay muttered.
Teyla sighed to herself. She had a feeling that this would not end well.
Twenty minutes later, John Sheppard was fidgeting with his vest impatiently as he listened to McKay relate the P4X-458 mission. He desperately wanted to leave the briefing room and take a shower, but Dr. Weir had insisted on having the mission debriefing before they cleaned up. She said it was because she had a full schedule and this was the only time when they could be debriefed, but Sheppard wasn't so sure. Ever since last week, she had been acting a little, well, overly polite to him. And cool.
He wondered briefly if maybe she had found out who played the trick on her. He had tried to make sure that she would never find out that it had been him… but Elizabeth was one sharp woman. If she did know, he was toast. But she couldn't possibly know…right?
In any case, he was not happy to be sitting here. The sensation of thick brown mud slowly hardening to his body was, well, unpleasant, to say at the least. McKay wasn't helping, either, by rambling on and on about a few 'interesting' Ancient artifacts they found on the planet. The colonel was about ready to drop dead from the tedium.
Impatiently, he began tapping his fingers on the table. After a few beats Weir sent him a look that froze his fingers in place. Deprived of tapping, he started to fidget again, sending a cascade of mud flakes to the floor. Weir shot him another look.
Finally driven to the brink of boredom, he cut off Rodney in mid-sentence. "Okay, Rodney, we get it. You found lots of new toys to play with. Can we go now?"
"Just a second. I know about the new Ancient devices, but you still haven't told me what happened on P4X-458," said Weir. John could have sworn she was enjoying his obvious discomfort. Or was she?
"Nothing happened. We meet the locals – nice people – and Rodney found his Ancient toys and we left. End of mission," said John, halfway out of his seat.
"And why are you covered in mud?" asked Weir.
John gritted his teeth. "I fell."
"You fell?" said Weir, raising her eyebrows.
"Yes. It was raining on the plant, and there was a small cliff, and I slipped and fell. Can we go now?" Sheppard said.
Elizabeth smiled sweetly. "Of course. Rodney, keep me updated on the devices, they sound promising," she said as she began to stand. By the time she was on her feet, Sheppard was already out the door.
Walking quickly to his quarters, Sheppard tried to ignore the amused glances that were sent his way. Well, at least nobody was making any wisecracks. To his face, anyway.
Sighing with relief as he reached the privacy of his room, John rapidly stripped off his stiff, mud-ridden clothes, throwing them by the door so he would remember to wash them later. Walking into the bathroom, he turned on the shower as hot as it would go and stepped inside. Soon streams of dirt and mud were swirling down the drain.
Nearly half an hour later, he stepped out of the bathroom, mud-free, or so he thought. As he got dressed in front of the mirror, he noticed that the some of his hair was still carrying the loathed substance. Determined to get rid of it, he finished dressing and began rooting through the bathroom cabinet for the shampoo bottle (the one in his shower was now empty). Instead he found his old, beat-up bottle of styling gel.
Smiling crookedly, he looked over the bottle. It was called 'Hew's Sport Gel – Every Man's Style', with a small dent in the side. He'd only used it once in his life, over two years ago before coming to Atlantis. A friend had given it to him as a good-bye present, joking that maybe it would keep his hair neat so he'd make a good impression in his new job. It hadn't worked, unsurprisingly. His hair had been as stubborn and independent as usual. The way he liked it.
Pushing away the memory, Sheppard found the shampoo and finished de-mudifying his hair, deciding to go to the laundry room and do the same with his clothes. As he left, he did not notice the shadowy figure that lurked around the corner, slipping into his room when he was gone.
Elizabeth watched as John exited his room, walking down the hall and turning a corner that lead to the laundry room. She quickly glanced around to make sure that nobody would see her, and stealthily entered his room.
Once inside, she walked hurriedly to the bathroom. She needed to be quick; John could return at any moment, and she didn't know how long it would take for her to find what she needed.
Almost immediately, though, she spotted the object she was looking for. A bottle of styling gel rested by the bathroom sink. Elizabeth smiled. And he claimed to never use hair gel? Liar.
As she opened the bottle and began to pour out some of the contents, Elizabeth felt a brief stab of guilt. Maybe this was carrying her revenge too far. It was kind of cruel, in a way. She didn't want to hurt him…
Filled with doubts, Elizabeth thought back to the trick he'd played on her last week. Her resolution was swiftly restored at the memory. Oh, yes. He definitely deserved this.
After the bottle was one-fourth empty, she took out a small tube and began to squeeze its contents into the bottle. Once the tube was empty, she took a small spoon and stirred. Soon the gel and the white paste that had come from the tube where perfectly blended together. There was a very small difference in the color of the gel, but she doubted he would notice. Finished with her work, Elizabeth left the room, smiling wickedly to herself.
Only a few minutes after Elizabeth had left the room, Rodney barged into it. Teyla, the poor suffering soul, had been dragged along as well.
"Rodney, I do not believe it is polite to enter somebody's private quarters without their consent," Teyla said disapprovingly as she watched Rodney enter the room.
"Fine, then. Stay outside," replied Rodney. "This'll only take a few minutes."
Teyla frowned, suddenly struck with the thought that Rodney would be searching through John's private things. Sighing resignedly, she followed him in.
"It is also not polite to be going through somebody's possessions without their knowledge," she added, watching as Rodney began looking through John's bathroom cabinet.
The physicist ignored her, muttering under his breath. "Aha!" he suddenly said, triumphant. "Look at this!" He thrust a bottle to her for her inspection.
Teyla looked over the bottle. "What about it?"
"It's a hair gel bottle! Sheppard lied! I knew it!" Rodney said. "Listen to this – 'Hew's Sport Gel! Developed for active lifestyles, HEW'S SPORT GEL delivers the absolute maximum in hold, performance, and control! Whether you're at the office or on the court, HEW'S SPORT GEL won't play games with your style. Stay in the game longer with HEW'S SPORT GEL! An advanced formula delivers maximum quality for a long-lasting, humidity resistant hold that locks in any style! Never stiff or sticky, HEW'S SPORT GEL outperforms every time!'" McKay looked up. "What a bunch of nonsense! He actually uses this stuff?!"
Feeling slightly dizzy from the mind-numbing ludicrousness of the bottle's claims, Teyla said, "Perhaps he does not use it. The bottle appears to be quite full."
McKay shook his head. "Oh no, he uses it. There's a dent in the side, see? Come on, we're done here." The scientist began to leave the room, gel bottle in hand.
Teyla stopped him. "Why are you taking that? It is Colonel Sheppard's."
"Oh come on, I'm going to give it back. After a few modifications," said McKay.
Frowning with suspicion, Teyla watched worriedly as Rodney left the room. This was definitely not going to end well.
Back in his own room, Rodney made the 'modifications' needed to Sheppard's bottle of gel in just a few minutes. Stepping away from the desk where he had performed his evil deed, he stepped back to admire his work. The bottle looked exactly as it had before. It wasn't, of course. Sheppard would never know what hit him.
Rodney began to clean up his workspace, intending to destroy all of the evidence before returning the bottle to Sheppard's room. He was just about to dump the original gel (he'd had to take some of the gel out in order add the other substances) in the trash when he hesitated. If this stuff worked for Sheppard, why not him? It wouldn't hurt to try, at any rate.
Instead of throwing the gel away, he poured it into a vial and set it aside for later. Just then his radio crackled as the voice of Zelenka spoke in his ear.
"Rodney. We have a problem," said the scientist grimly.
"What is it? I'm kind of busy right now," said Rodney, irritated.
"Fine. Since you are so busy, I will not tell you how Dr. Smith has managed to blow up project #54," said Zelenka.
Rodney nearly choked on the mouthful of coffee he had just swallowed. "What?!" He demanded. "I'll kill him!"
"So you will come?"
"I'm on my way right now," Rodney muttered forbiddingly, striding quickly out of his room, hair gel forgotten. As he walked down the hallway, he was radioed again.
"Rodney," said Dr. Weir. "I need the mission reports from your last mission."
"From P4X-458? I just got back from that one!"
"No, the one before that. The one you were supposed to turn in two days ago?"
"Yes yes, well I'm kind of busy right now. It's an emergency. If you want the report you'll have to go to my room and pick it up," said Rodney as he hurried for the lab.
"Your room?" said Elizabeth. "Not your office?"
"Yes, I was working on it in bed last night. It's finished. Go ahead and pick it up. McKay out."
Elizabeth sighed as she began to walk out of her office to Rodney's room. Sometimes the astrophysicist could be so annoying it made her want to tamper with his hair gel as well. Though she doubted he used one.
In a few minutes she had reached Rodney's room and located his mission report. Turning, she started out of the room when a familiar object caught her attention.
It was a bottle of hair gel….exactly the same as John's.
Startled, she went over to the bottle and picked it up. The bottle had a small indent on the side of it. There was no doubt about it – this was John's hair gel bottle. So what was it doing in Rodney's room?
Elizabeth frowned. Had John lent it to Rodney? It was possible… in any case, she couldn't let Rodney use it, but neither could she put it back in John's room. It looked like she'd have to find another way to get her revenge.
Shaking her head in frustration, she left the room with both the mission report and the bottle.
Ronon walked down the Atlantis hallways, slowly and without purpose. He was bored; there was nothing to do now that the mission was over.
Idly, he watched as Dr. Weir walked quickly by, smiling at him briefly. In that moment a marine accidentally bumped into her, making the papers in her hands spill to the floor.
Ronon watched as the marine apologized to Dr. Weir, helping her pick up the papers. In seconds both were finished, going their separate ways.
It was only until Weir was out of sight that Ronon noticed one of her things was still on the floor, forgotten. Picking it up, he examined the object. It was a bottle, with Earth symbols on it, which he didn't know how to read. Sheppard tried to teach him for a while, but Sheppard wasn't exactly the most patient teacher and Ronon hadn't really seen the point of it. He'd already had to learn to read once as a child, and wasn't keen on doing it again.
Shrugging, Ronon started to head off to Weir's office to return the bottle. He might as well. He didn't have anything else to do.
Five minutes later, Ronon was in Dr. Weir's office, feeling extremely annoyed. Weir wasn't here, and the bottle had started to break. There was a dent in it that had turned into a crack after being dropped. It wasn't going to hold much longer.
Shaking his head with annoyance, Ronon took the bottle to Weir's room. He grabbed one of the other bottles in her bathroom and poured the contents of the first bottle into it. Finished, he exited to the room, deciding to head to the gym. Maybe there were some new Earth recruits to beat up.
That night, Elizabeth took a quick shower before going to bed. Several corridors away in his own room, so did Dr. McKay.
"Good morning, sir."
"Morning, lt.," replied Sheppard as he walked towards the briefing room. "Anything interesting happen last night?" he asked the soldier, who had been on sentry duty for the last shift, which started at midnight.
"Not really, sir. Although doctors McKay and Weir are acting kind of funny," said the soldier thoughtfully.
"What do you mean?" asked John.
"You'll see for yourself soon enough," replied the soldier.
Curiosity piqued, John began to head to the briefing room. He and his team were getting briefed on another mission in only a few minutes, so he would get to see both Elizabeth and Rodney then.
Sitting down in the seat that he usually claimed, John waited for the others to arrive. Only a few minutes later, Teyla and Ronon entered the room together. John noted with mild interest that Teyla was smiling and laughing at something that Ronon had said. He greeted them both with a nod.
Twenty minutes later, McKay and Elizabeth still had yet to show their faces. And they weren't answering their radios. Sheppard was just beginning to consider going to find them when Rodney entered the room.
John looked at him curiously. "Hey, Rodney. Something wrong with your hair?"
"Of course not," snapped Rodney, blushing red.
"Then why are you wearing a hat?" asked Sheppard.
Rodney glared at him from underneath the rim of the baseball cap he was wearing. "What's wrong with me wearing a hat?"
"You never wear hats," said Sheppard.
"Of course I do. I wear them all the time," bluffed Rodney.
Sheppard, Teyla and Ronon exchanged glances. "I have never before seen you wear a hat, Dr. McKay," said Teyla.
"Yes, well, what I mean is, I use to wear them all the time," said Rodney.
"And you just felt like wearing one today," said Sheppard.
"Yes," Rodney said.
"Right." Sheppard narrowed his eyes, trying to think of a way he could get the hat off before McKay could stop him. He was just about to lunge for it when Elizabeth entered the room.
She was wearing a veil.
All plans of removing Rodney's hat flew from his head as he stared at her. Her entire head and neck, with the exception of her face, was covered in one of those cloths that Muslim women wear back on Earth. And for some odd reason, it looked as if the cloth was hovering an inch above her head.
Elizabeth sat down in her seat, briskly getting down to business as if nothing was wrong. "Good morning. I trust that you all have gotten the e-mails about the background of your new mission. You should all know by now that we found MR2-899 in the Ancient database, and that the Ancients had an alliance with the people that lived there ten thousand years ago. We don't know what happened to the alliance, although Dr. Zelenka believes that it may have ended badly from the lack of information about what happened…." Dr. Weir trailed off, noticing with annoyance that John was staring at her. "Colonel?" she questioned coolly.
"Elizabeth," replied Sheppard. "Ah, you have an… interesting… choice of clothes on today."
Elizabeth blushed, whether from embarrassment, fury, or both, he couldn't tell. In any case, his jaw nearly hit the ground. He had never seen the calm, collected Dr. Weir blush before. He hadn't thought it was possible.
"Thank you for noticing, Colonel. Now if we could please get back to the briefing?" she said, coldly.
Sheppard didn't respond, in too much surprise to say anything. By the time the briefing was over, though, he had decided on the most reasonable course of action.
Standing up casually as the meeting finished, he began heading out door – until at the last minute, he turned and snatched off both McKay's hat and Elizabeth's veil.
Teyla stared as John suddenly removed Rodney's and Elizabeth's strange new head-cloths. As a child, she had been taught it was impolite to gap at people, but she found herself gaping at their hair anyway.
Or in Rodney's case, the lack of it. The top of the scientist's head was shiny and bare. There was still hair on the sides and back of his head, but it was shedding quickly. In fact, as John had pulled of the hat, clumps of hair had fallen to the floor.
Rodney's baldness was nothing compared to Dr. Weir's new hairstyle, though. It was… something Teyla had never seen before, and something she had never wanted to see. Ever.
Elizabeth's hair was a bright, almost translucent pink color. Instead of losing hair, it looked as if she had gained a few pounds. The hair puffed up, forming a huge fuzzy circle around her head; Teyla realized now what had been making the head cloth 'hover'. In short, the whole thing looked like one of Dr. McKay's experiments gone terribly wrong.
After a few moments of silence, John finally spoke up. "Wow… what did you do?"
Both McKay and Weir glared simultaneously at the colonel, so venomously that he actually took a step back.
"What did we do?! You – you insufferable, playboy idiot! This is YOUR doing!" yelled McKay.
Teyla felt a pang of pity for John, who looked bemused as he backed away from McKay's wrath. "Me?" he said.
"Don't pretend you're innocent! I know what you did!" said McKay.
"Did you think you could get away with it?" interrupted Dr. Weir, who looked equally enraged. "First you played that trick on me, and now this? I know it was you!"
"I'm going to kill you," snarled McKay.
"No, I'm going to kill him," said Weir.
Sheppard ran. They followed.
Teyla and Ronon watched in amazement as the leader of Atlantis and the head scientist chased the Commanding Officer down the hallway.
The two were quiet for a while.
Ronon finally broke the silence. "Earthers are weird."
Teyla nodded in agreement, the image of Elizabeth and Rodney trying to tackle Sheppard burned into her mind. "They are."
"Want to go get something to eat?"
"It would be a pleasure."
A/N: This is my first story that I've posting here; please tell me what you think.