A/N: This fic has been in my head since like for-e-ver! I finally managed to put it down. Again, just a plot bunny that simply demanded to be shared. Enjoy!
Between Sheppard's migraine, Teyla's stitches, Ronon's bruised ribs and foot, and Rodney's 'quite possibly infected oh-my-god-it-hurts' paper cut, SGA1 was one unkempt, rather grumpy group. They trudged out of the infirmary after their post mission checkups with aspirin all around and strict orders to get rest, which they were more than willing to obey.
John was leading the way to the transporters with Rodney following behind and already dry-swallowing his aspirin, Ronon behind him doing his best not to limp and Teyla trailing at the rear feeling no need to rush her sore muscles and fresh stitches.
A loud voice from behind made John wince.
Teyla did, spinning around to see Jinto running toward her.
"Jinto? What are you doing here?" She saw that he was coming from the infirmary and her heart rate quickened, "Are you ill? Is Halling?"
The boy, now edging on his fourteenth birthday, shook his head, his newly short cropped hair not moving an inch. "No, Maril, my father's sister, had her baby last night. Father asked me to accompany her to Atlantis for her checkup. He was leaving on a hunt."
Teyla smiled tiredly, "pass along my congratulations, Jinto. I will visit her soon, but right now I must get some much needed rest."
Jinto shook his head, "You do not understand, I have just received word."
Teyla turned back to him and narrowed her eyes, suddenly noticing that Jinto was practically electric with excitement. It was a wonder he wasn't literally bouncing up and down.
"Word of what Jinto?" She asked, amused by his obvious enthusiasm.
He uttered a single word, his grin painfully big, "Anoch."
Teyla's eyes grew wide and clear. Immediately she understood the boy's excitement and seeming need to tell someone, anyone, his news, because now she felt the same. She looked up and around frantically for someone to pass along the message to, suddenly realizing that few on Atlantis would understand her meaning.
Her eyes fell on Ronon's back where he was waiting with John and McKay for use of the transporter.
"Ronon!" She said a bit louder than she intended, earning a glare from John, who'd just swallowed his own aspirin and taken Ronon's as well since he wasn't planning to use it.
"What?" the Satedan asked brusquely, he wanted very much to get to his room and lie down as soon as possible, but Teyla's suddenly bright and energetic smile made him pause. She and a beaming Jinto, who was talking a mile a minute, moved toward them before she answered.
"There is an upcoming Anoch, Ronon. Jinto has just received word from Yari and Thoren who arrived from off-world trading last night."
John watched curiously as the scowl Ronon had been wearing dissolved instantly and was replaced by one of his rarely seen grins.
"Anoch? What is Anoch?" Rodney asked, expressing his own curiosity in the slightly annoyed, petulant way he did.
Ronon ignored him, "When? Where?"
John's eyebrows went up at the unadulterated excitement in Ronon's voice and watched as he, Teyla and Jinto excitedly exchanged information.
"Yes Jinto? Is it soon?"
The boy nodded enthusiastically, "It will begin tomorrow night on Krettion, on the southern continent."
Ronon folded his arms and nodded approvingly, "They were culled last year, it's a good spot."
"Yes and Teyla, my father says I may attend this year if you will accompany me. My first Anoch."
Teyla's smile grew in intensity again. Now she truly understood the boy's excitement.
"Your first Anoch Jinto, how wonderful."
He nodded, and then, looking between Ronon and Teyla, "Will you come?"
"Excuse me!" Rodney said again, more irritated at being ignored than at not getting the information he wanted, "Does someone want to explain what this magic word is?"
Jinto and Ronon looked annoyed at the interruption, Teyla being the only one that had the grace to look apologetic, "I'm sorry Rodney, John. Anoch is…" She looked thoughtful, for a moment, searching for the appropriate word, "I do not believe there is a word that adequately describes it in Earth, but the closest would be: party. Celebration."
John lifted one eyebrow. "A party?"
"What, like Lieutenant Garrison's birthday party last month? What's so great about that?" Rodney sounded skeptical.
Teyla and Jinto exchanged a patient look and Ronon shook his head, clamping a large hand on Rodney's shoulder, "no. Not that kind of party."
Teyla jumped in again before Rodney could respond, "But it is the same basic idea. Anoch is only much…larger. The word means 'to live'. Humans from all over the galaxy come together for three nights and two days in a celebration of life. There is dancing and drinking and much laughter."
"Many worlds?" John repeated, furrowing his brow at the idea, "isn't that many people in one place a little dangerous?"
"No one ever knows when or where it will be until the last moment!" Jinto jumped in, "to keep the wraith from finding out. And a planet that was recently culled is always chosen, because it is less likely the wraith will return in time for the Anoch."
"Of course, there is a risk," Teyla admitted, "but-"
"It's worth it." Ronon finished, a satisfied smile on his face, "I've been to two, before the attack on Sateda."
"Three for me."
"And this will be my first!" Jinto said again, making Teyla smile and Ronon laugh as he rolled his eyes.
"Yes, your first, Jinto."
The fact that the boy was obviously thrilled made John smile even despite his headache, "Okay. A big party. I'm game. I'll spread the word, see if anyone else wants to go."
Ronon nodded, "We should leave in ten hours."
"I thought the kid said it didn't start until tomorrow night," Rodney said, "why do we have to leave so early?"
Teyla answered, "The days on Krettion are short, the nights are long."
"Another reason it's a good choice," Ronon added.
"Okay," John said, clapping his hands, his headache significantly lessened, either by cause of the aspirin or the thought of his first party in nearly five years, "Operation: Fiesta leaves the gate room at 0500 hours Atlantis time."
Grins were sent around the group, even Rodney smiled, and Teyla turned to Jinto to give him a nod.
"Kanaan has never been fond of Anoch, so he will watch Torren. You may tell your father I will accompany you Jinto. Meet us at the Alpha Site in eleven hours. Sunrise."
The boy looked as if he would burst and wrapped his arms around Teyla, pressing his forehead to hers happily. Then with a wave, he took off back toward the infirmary, stopping only when he heard his name.
"Jinto! It will be your first Anoch!" Ronon's voice boomed and they all laughed when the boy's smile brightened ten fold and he picked up the pace back to the infirmary.
"Hey," John said as the four of them clamored into the transporter and he selected the crew barracks from the schematic of the city, "I guess it's going to be me and Rodney's first Anoch too."
Teyla nodded, exchanging a secretive smile with Ronon, "Yes, I believe it is. Congratulations John."
Rodney looked up from his injured finger as if an idea had just literally hit him in the face, "Will there be beer pong? I ruled beer pong in graduate school."
Sheppard scoffed, and the transporter doors closed with Ronon's confused frown.
"What's Beer Pong?"
47 Hours Later
"Unscheduled activation." Chuck announced, "It's the Alpha-site. Colonel Sheppard and the others returning from M46-379."
"Lower the Sheild." Woolsey ordered, coming to stand at the railing and watch the rest of the Lanteans returning from this Anoch he'd heard so much about. Most of the group who'd attended this last minute festival had returned the night before, looking a little worse for wear. Most had yet to return to duty and those who had were so hung over they were essentially useless at their posts.
Colonel Sheppard, and Rodney however, had decided they would stay behind with Teyla and Ronon and that Athosian child.
In that moment, the group in question walked, or more accurately, stumbled through the gate.
Ronon first, looking almost sure of his steps and sporting several new stains both dirt based and otherwise, on his jacket. He dragged along beside him McKay, who was red-eyed and babbling with speech that was slurred and overly loud.
"Party? Big Party, she'd said. It'll be fun, he said. I could've died!"
"You didn't drink that much McKay." Ronon grumbled, letting the man drop onto the bottom steps that lead up to the second level.
"Died? Colonel, I thought you said there was minimal risk for this little outing." Woolsey exclaimed, coming to join them below, though he kept a good distance since they all smelled of fire-smoke and some form of liquor that he couldn't identify but burned his nostrils to inhale.
"It was, Woolsey. McKay just…has a flair for the dramatic." Sheppard answered. He was trying to look as if he was helping Teyla walk straight, when in reality it was the other way around.
"Dramatic? No, that was Cher: Live in Pegasus over there." Rodney pointed sluggishly toward Teyla, who smiled and blushed slightly at Woolsey's raised eyebrows. John had explained the reference earlier.
"Cher, Ms. Emmagen?"
She licked her lips and smiled, "Copius amounts of Braght wine has been known, in some, to cause a tendency to sing."
Ronon smiled and shook his head, "Only if they don't know how to hold their drink."
John leaned against the railing of the stairs and raised his eyebrow, "Really? Because I could've sworn I heard you humming a few bars there, Big Guy."
Ronon scowled and Sheppard shrugged and made no further comment.
"Wasn't there a child with you?" Woolsey asked, doing a mental head count.
Teyla looked up, a little bleary-eyed but coherent. "He has already returned to New Athos he was...tired."
"He's tired? I just want to get our check-up over with so I can go sleep for a year." Rodney whined, his head leaning against Ronon's leg as his eyes drift shut.
The others looked at Woolsey, who nodded, "I'll alert them of your arrival."
The group gathered itself and prepared for the arduous trek to the sub-level infirmary.
"Oh, Colonel, I encountered some difficulty from the other attendees in finding an adequate way to describe this Anoch in my report, you wouldn't happen to have any ideas, would you?"
John bit his lip and thought for a moment. He looked at Teyla, who's hair was wild and falling out of her pony-tail and looking droopy-eyed but happy. Rodney was dead on his feet and about to get slung over Ronon's shoulder if he didn't get his feet under himself soon. Ronon himself looked like he could use some sleep, and Sheppard didn't doubt it since the variety and multitude of exotic off-world women he'd seen coming in and out of the Satedan's tent couldn't have left him much time for rest. And when he shifted his weight against Teyla, he was reminded of his own jelly-like limbs.
"Put this in your report, Woolsey. Woodstock meets Mardi Gras on New Years Eve 1999." With that, he turned and allowed Teyla to lead him down the corridor to the transporters, McKay's mumbled 'couldn't have said it better myself, flyboy', trailing behind.