Disclaimer: I don't own "Stargate: Atlantis." I am in no way trying to make a profit off this story, I am merely writing it and posting for my and other people's enjoyment.
Synopsis: A series of three vignettes, like photos in a family album. Ronon/Teyla on the first pages, then John/Elizabeth, ending with Rodney/Katie.
Warnings: Sweet romantic moments, cuteness, lots of fluff
Pairings: Ronon/Teyla, John/Elizabeth, Rodney/Katie, Caleb/Jeannie
Spoilers: McKay and Mrs. Miller; specifically; others possibly
Timeline: Diverging from McKay and Mrs. Miller
Title: Christmas Snapshots
Author: Mama Jo
Author's notes: This is my first posted fic, although I am fyd818's mom and beta. I got the basic idea while she and I were baking Christmas cookies; it didn't take long for it to grow from a one-shot into a three-shot! Now the cookies are baked, and the peanut brittle all made, hopefully parts two and three will be posted soon. Merry Christmas, everyone!
"Way Out of Town Company Arrives"
This wasn't such a good idea.
Earth, Ronon Dex decided as he stared out the middle window of the rapidly moving van, made him uneasy. Not that he'd really seen enough of the whole planet to justify his reaction – he realized that. He just found himself wishing more and more, as the unnerving vista outside and his companions' conversations within flowed equally past him, he'd had the good sense to stay behind on Atlantis. . .
. . .A place where he finally felt he belonged.
The soft susurration of a shoulder harness extending came from the seat behind him. An instant later, he felt displaced air move past his left ear as someone leaned forward; felt the back of his seat give slightly as someone gripped it. A waft of spicy sweetness past his nostrils identified that someone as Teyla, who was sharing the back seat with Dr. Brown.
"I am told people travel these expressways to and from their jobs as a matter of course nearly every day," she said from behind his left shoulder. Under the brightness of her tone, he thought he detected a note of unease to match his own, so he turned his head slightly and rolled his eyes for a quick glance back at her. Sure enough, there was a disquieted shadow behind her normal tranquility as she gazed past him at the slow-moving traffic packed around them. "And also, that this is a scene repeated around every major city on Earth." She paused a beat. "I do not know if I would ever become accustomed." She gave him a faint smile of complete understanding before leaning back again.
Ronon's lips twitched in response. Turning his head a little more, he said softly, "When I heard the word 'expressway,' I thought it meant we'd get to the Millers' really fast. Evidently, 'express' doesn't mean the same thing here as back home."
"Actually, traffic isn't moving all that badly for this time of day," McKay observed absently from the seat on Ronon's right. He yelped suddenly, causing Dr. Weir, who was riding in the shotgun seat, to jump. "Hey, hey, what does that guy think he's doing? Sheppard, he's got his turn signal on, and there isn't room for him to merge in front of us—!"
"I see him, McKay. Quit being a backseat driver." Sheppard handled the van with the same smooth expertise Ronon had witnessed a hundred times in a jumper, during much more dangerous situations. So why, he asked himself as he watched his commanding officer skillfully create merging room for the vehicle McKay found so alarming, did he feel so uncomfortable? Like he really had no business being on this trip at all?
"There's the exit, John." Dr. Weir's low-voiced comment brought Ronon back to his surroundings. Outside, wintry dusk was drawing down. The western sky glowed with the chilly yellow and greenish tints he remembered seeing in sunsets during that season on Sateda. . .
"So why don't you tell Elizabeth not to be a backseat driver?"
That was McKay again, being typically snarky. Good word, "snarky;" it certainly fit his irritating teammate better than any other he knew. Well, that he could use in polite company, at least.
"Because she's not in a backseat, like you are." Ronon heard the effort Sheppard put into sounding calm. "And besides, she's navigator on this trip."
"Which makes no sense, seeing that it's my sister's house we're going to," McKay grumped.
"But Rodney, aren't we going to their new house?" Dr. Brown inquired timidly from behind McKay. "I didn't think you'd been there yet."
"Well, no, I haven't, of course I haven't, I've been too busy helping save the Pegasus galaxy on a regular basis. But it's the principle of the matter—" With an inaudible sigh, Ronon tuned out again, wondering how Earth people stood any of it: normal days, holidays. . .
When the van finally glided to a smooth stop in front of a brightly lit house, the Satedan didn't know whether to be relieved at arriving at their destination, or apprehensive over having to step out into this unsettling world. The door beside him slid open without his touching it; on the other side of the van, the one next to McKay did the same. Weir was already out of her seat and discreetly stretching, while Sheppard went about the routine of shutting the vehicle down. To his right, McKay was giving Dr. Brown a hand. The rear hatch opened and began to lift, accompanied by warning beeps.
"Ronon?" Teyla spoke quietly from behind him.
Oh, right – she couldn't really get out of her seat until he did. He quickly swung a leg out, planting his foot so he could pivot and straighten in one easy movement. "Sorry," he said with a covering grin, "my legs didn't believe they could still work."
Teyla smiled in return. Accepting his proffered hand, she gracefully exited the van, saying at the same time, "It is indeed good to stand again. I can no longer feel the toes on my right foot."
At the top of the slight slope above them, the front door of the house flew open, casting an even brighter light out into the deepening dark. Ronon turned his head towards it and saw a small figure silhouetted against it. A childish voice called out, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Daddy! They'reherethey'reherethey'rehere!" as the figure turned and ran back into the house.
"You gals go on ahead, we'll get the luggage," Sheppard said briskly. He grabbed his and Weir's bags before following them up the walkway to the front porch. Ronon waited a moment for McKay to reach in for his and Dr. Brown's. When the scientist didn't, he took hold of Teyla's and then his own.
"Uh, Ronon." McKay's voice stopped him. Ronon glanced down, mildly surprised to see the awkwardness the other man's body language all but shouted as he stared up at the house. The others were on the front porch now, standing aside to let a tall man pass, while happy chatter floated to them through the chilly air. Abruptly, McKay called out, "Caleb! It's okay, we've got the rest, go on back inside!" before jerking around to face Ronon squarely and saying very fast, "Look, my niece Madison, she's only four, almost still a baby— Um, you won't be hurt— I mean, I'm trying to say—" By the light coming from inside the van, his expression looked almost desperately pleading. "Please – don't be offended if she's a little – overwhelmed – when she meets you—"
Why didn't I listen to my gut, and just stay on Atlantis? A curl of hurt squeezed Ronon's chest, even though he gave no outward sign of it. "No problem, McKay," he said. "You need any help with those bags?"
"No, no thanks, I've got them." McKay scrabbled after the carrying straps while continuing to shoot furtive looks in Ronon's direction. Ronon tipped his head slightly, indicating he should go first, and made himself follow, though at a slight distance.
Everyone was still congregated in the entryway, laughing and moving by very small steps into the hallway beyond. Jeannie Miller craned to look around a tall, slender man who could only be her husband, and exclaimed, "Oh, Mer, there you are, we were starting to think you'd gotten lost. . . And Ronon, it's so good to see you again! I want you to meet my husband, Caleb," Ronon knew enough of Earth customs to shake Caleb Miller's quickly offered hand, "and this is Madison, we call her Maddie—"
Ronon looked down, way down, into a pair of round, light blue eyes staring back up into his. He got an impression of light blonde hair framing a delicate little face as, trying as hard as he knew how, to be as nonthreatening as he knew how, he said, "Hello, Maddie, I'm glad to meet you."
Madison kept staring at him for a moment that seemed to stretch endlessly. Ronon could all but hear McKay's thoughts shouting at him, I told you not to scare the kid! as silence gradually fell around them. Just as Ronon seriously considered turning and running, the little girl tugged furiously on her father's pant leg, and demanded, "Daddy, pick me up, pick me up! Now, Daddy!"
Caleb Miller shot a look that was half worried, half apologetic in Ronon's direction as he obeyed. "Hey, Madison," he said soothingly as he settled her on his hip, arms unconsciously assuming a protective pose, "what's all this now?"
She ignored him. Keeping one arm hooked firmly around her father's neck, she leaned away from him and towards Ronon. Since the two men were nearly the same height, her eyes were now almost on a level with his.
"Um, Ronon—" McKay started to say, when Maddie's face suddenly lit up with a smile. She giggled, and stretched both arms out to Ronon: obviously, if unbelievably, wanting to transfer to him.
"I like your curls," she said. "They're pretty."
Ronon felt a wide, spontaneous smile split his own face as relieved laughter broke out around them. "Thanks, Maddie, I like your curls, too." He flashed a quick look at Caleb Miller's face, uncertain whether to reach for the little girl in return; got a confirming nod even as Caleb shifted his hands to his daughter's waist preparatory to handing her over. Feeling as if he were the one being overwhelmed, Ronon carefully accepted Maddie into his arms.
"Since you've got Maddie, let me take those bags," Caleb said cheerfully, sliding carrying straps onto his own arms even as he spoke.
"C'mon, why are we standing around out here, we'll show you where everybody's sleeping." Jeannie, beaming happily, backed a couple of steps and beckoned. "It'll be a little crowded, but not as much as the old house would have been. . ."
The crush in the entryway thinned as people obediently followed. Teyla lingered behind, pausing at the foot of the stairs to give him a long, warm look. Then, inclining her head briefly, she smiled her beautiful, heart-stopping smile before turning and ascending the steps.
"I think she's a pretty lady," Maddie commented as she fingered the silver ring around one of Ronon's dreadlocks, "do you think so, too?"
Ronon knew Teyla was still within easy earshot, but he didn't care. A warmth he'd nearly forgotten relaxing his chest and melting his earlier apprehensions, he sincerely replied, "Yes, Maddie, I do think she's a pretty lady. A very, very pretty lady indeed." His own lips curving in a gentle smile, he started up the staircase, glad now he hadn't remained behind on Atlantis.
Very, very glad indeed.