The Fine Art Of Being A Team
John's team had the process of settling in for a night offworld down to a fine art.
Signs of human habitation, nil. Signs of animal habitation, nil. Tents up, check. Fire banked, check. Pegasus equivalent of poison ivy, check. Teyla smearing calamine lotion on Rodney's hands while he complained, check.
Contrary to popular opinion in Atlantis, AR-1 didn't always leave a planet as though all the Wraith of the galaxy were after them. Not even fifty percent of the time - Rodney had badgered John to do the math stats just so they'd have something with which to argue the point when it came up in mess hall dinner conversations.
"These things always happen to me," Rodney sulked as they sat around the fire, warmed by the glow of the fire - and the light emanating from the screen of Rodney's Dell.
"Sheppard got stung by the wasps last time."
John glared at Ronon. He was trying not to remember that incident. Considering he'd had to be cut out of his clothing since he'd puffed up so much...
"Yes, you do have quite a...shall we say, affinity...for insects."
He switched the glare to Rodney who was swatting at a bug crawling across his screen. "It was only the once." At the looks from his team-mates, John backtracked - just a little. "Okay, twice. The iratus bug and the wasps."
"And the katakoid bandors," Teyla didn't look up from the book she had out and was reading by flashlight. If reading initially seemed like an odd recreation for Teyla, she seemed to enjoy it - working her way through the words, and quietly hijacking various personnel from the expedition to ask them about Earth phrases and terminology. John made a mental note to get moving on War and Peace - she'd be wanting to borrow that next.
"And the katakoid bandors." He'd tried to forget the incident with the bandors.
"And those creatures that resembled your Earth bees on the planet with the waterfall like Niagara."
John glared at Teyla. "Teyla..."
"I do not believe that there is a pattern at all, John."
Ronon was chuckling. Rodney smugly mimed licking his finger and made a mark in the air. Teyla glanced up, met John's eye and smiled.
John huffed a little, but felt warm in a way that had nothing to do with the fire and everything to do with his team. "As you can see, Rodney, these things don't always happen to you."
"Often enough." But Rodney's heart wasn't in the complaint. And his hand absently reached to scratch at one of the ivy stings.
"Okay, okay! I'm not scratching! See? This is me not scratching."
Movement beyond the leaping flames caught John's eye. Ronon was leaning over to snatch the book out of Teyla's hands. "What are you reading this time?"
Teyla's protest of, "Ronon!" was hardly heard as John's eyes fixed on the slim volume hurtling its way over the fire to him.
He caught it with both hands, automatically dropping the twig whose bark he'd absently been peeling and tossing into the fire. After the rough bark of the twig, the smooth paper was a new feeling. Then he got a look at the cover and blinked.
"'The Blonde Geisha - an erotic novel'?" He narrowed his eyes at Teyla.
Rodney looked up from his laptop again. "You're reading romance novels?"
"Romance novels?" Ronon questioned.
"Erotic novels," murmured John, a little shocked. Curious, he flipped open the book, turning so his back was towards the fire so he had a little more light to see by.
Uh. Okay. Um. Wow.
John snapped the book shut and concentrated on the cold ground beneath his butt before anything got too excited. Sure, the sex was a glorified and not quite as...well, earthy as John usually found it, but it was pretty titillating as well.
Which was probably the point.
"So...books about sex?"
"Books about womance," explained Rodney, adopting an effete pronunciation for 'romance.' "Usually bad."
"Why would you read a book about bad sex?"
"Oh, the sex isn't usually bad." Rodney chased away another bug with a frown. "Actually, the sex supposed to be mind-blowingly good. Badly-written books about good sex."
"And you read these books?" Ronon had the look of a predator closing in for the hunt.
Rodney acquired the look of prey that had only just realised it was being hunted. "Me? No!"
"Yet you know all about them," said Teyla, as she leaned back against a tree, her mouth curving in the faintest of smiles as a night creature fluttered out beyond the circle of firelight.
"Everyone knows about them."
"I don't," John said, cheerfully lying through his teeth.
"Me neither," Ronon said, crossing his arms and eyeing Rodney.
"All right, everyone other than Sheppard- who is, of course, lying - and most of the Pegasus galaxy with the clear exception of Teyla who's obviously been inducted into the wonderful world of womance by the women of Atlantis." Rodney paused."That is still not everyone," Teyla pointed out, carefully correct. "May I have the book back?"
John didn't quite smile as he leaned over to return the book.
"You know, Teyla," Rodney commented, "if you feel you need for sex..."
"I was just going to say that she can go to that planet that Ronon's always visiting! What do you think I was going to--?" He caught John's look. "Oh, don't even go there, Sheppard."
"Kamatta," Ronon flopped down in the leaf mulch with a smirk. "Next trip in five days. You're welcome to come along." His grin made it clear the offer was open. And it was a tempting offer. Just not one that John was free to take up, given his position in Atlantis, rules and regulations, and general morale. Ronon could because he wasn't of the expedition. And because the alternative was letting him cut a swathe through the women of Atlantis.
Teyla was picking her way through the pages of the book until she found her place again. "No, thank you."
"Hmm... The prospect's tempting, but I've got other things to put my energy towards," Rodney said, beginning to scratch his arms.
Rodney scowled as his team-mates chided him, put his hands firmly on the computer top and began typing again. "Where'd you get the book anyway?"
"Lieutenant Madison brought it with her on the Pegasus," Teyla said. "But Dr. Kusanagi loaned it to me."
Rodney's head jerked up at that, eyes wide with shock. "Miko?"
"Maybe McKay needs to pay Kusanagi a night-time visit." Ronon leered at the astonished scientist. "I think she'd like that." The younger man had a distinctly earthy sense of humour when he let it out to run - rather like the very dry wit that sometimes cropped up in unexpected places.
"I've got more important things to do..." Rodney flustered. It was amusing in a Rodney McKay way. Might have been cute in anyone else. John met Teyla's eyes around the fire and saw her bite back another smile as Ronon homed in on the kill yet again, nudging Rodney for any reaction he could get as something small and light scuttled through the leaf mulch in the darkness.
Night-time noises, check. Fireside conversation, check. Team-mates' teasing, check. Family, check.
Definitely a fine art.
- fin -