On December 17th, Stargate Command got a surprise data transfer from Atlantis that, couched in strictly military terms, essentially said, “Oh my God! We found four ZPMs! It’s the best ever! Come over and we’ll make brownies!”
General Landry hemmed and hawed about efficient use of limited resources and Sam and Daniel launched an immediate campaign to go like, six minutes ago, babbling in as close to preschool whining as two well-educated doctorates could manage about the breathtaking opportunities and technology that awaited them on the other side of the puddle. General O’Neill expressed concerns that his desk had violent designs on his residual sanity and said the only way for the Air Force not to lose one of their finest was to allow him to supervise his team. Then, General Landry said, “Oh, for God’s sake. Just get out of here.”
Daniel and Sam and General O’Neill may have jumped around one of the more obscure labs holding hands and shrieking like thirteen-year-old girls, but nobody but Teal’c could prove itâ€”and as usual, he wasn’t talking.
On December 20th, the original SG-1 steps through the puddle and Atlantis base was attempting to put its best face forward.
John was as close to military clean-cut as Rodney had ever seen him, practically bouncing on the balls of his feet; Elizabeth was wearing her Stargate uniform, freshly Atlantis laundry spinner-thing pressed, and wearing shiny new Athosian-crafted earrings which were probably not part of her BDUs. Rodney had considered wearing all of his diplomas but feared that carrying around four would really be excessive, so he’d settled for brushing his hair precisely and smiling his most jaunty and devastatingly attractive smile.
“Okay, remember,” Rodney had said in the pre-SGC-arrival staff meeting, “we shouldn’t rub their faces in it because that’s not classyâ€”but I think it’d be completely fair to point out how much prettier Atlantis is than Cheyenne Mountain.”
“Rodney,” Elizabeth had said, all reproach.
“But it is prettier,” John had agreed, and Rodney swore the room brightened in as close an approximation as flickering lights could make to a blush.
“This is a purely factual statement,” Rodney had argued. “They have a cold, emotionless cement bunkerâ€”” he’d motioned with one hand, and then motioned with the other, raising his voice as he spoke “â€”we have a glorious, sunlit paradise that floats on a perfect blue sea.”
“I hardly think that bragging should be part of the tour,” Elizabeth had said, mouth twitching.
John had actually pouted. “But it’s Atlantis.” He had actually stroked the conference table soothingly. “She’s been through so much. Shouldn’t we get to show her off a bit?”
Then Elizabeth had done that thing where she cleared her throat and unofficially changed the subject, which was probably intended to be a dismissal of the issue but Rodney and John had always taken it as an official okay for whatever half-assed plan they had that week.
(Mostly, said half-assed plans didn’t even blow up on them anymoreâ€”or at least happened in a far less statistically significant way so Rodney was considering that a major win, though not one he was going to advertise when Samantha Carter snapped out of her delusions and threw herself to her knees, begging to again be in Rodney’s favor.)
Rodney glanced at John from the corners of his eyes, and said, “Remember to do theâ€””
“â€”thing with the place we found,” John finished, grinning. “Got it.”
“They’re going to be so jealous,” Rodney said gleefully.
Elizabeth sighed, deep and long-suffering.
When the event horizon had burst open, a wobbling, luminous blue, they all held their breaths as General O’Neill headed the group, crossing the threshold and saying, “Woah. Nice digs.”
The first thing Samantha Carter did when she stepped through the gate was give Rodney a wary glance and say, “I’m engaged!”
Rodney scowled. “Oh, hey, very friendly!” he snapped.
Sheppard made a noise that was a cross between choking and hilarity and Elizabeth, giving both of them a reproachful glare, took a step forward to shake General O’Neill’s hand, saying, “General. It’s an honor to have you here.”
And as the rest of SG-1 stepped one by one into the gateroom, their eyes rounded in astonished delight, with the same quiet awe that the Atlantis crew had found the city that first time, slumbering underwater.
“Oh, wow, this is just amazing,” Daniel Jackson said, eyes huge, and wandered off immediately without any prelude or introduction. The team assigned to him, including two marines, an anthropologist, and a linguist, having been forewarned, rushed off after his meandering footsteps, and Rodney heard them say, “Wait, don’t touch that!” almost immediately.
O’Neill, unfazed, just smiled, broad and excited and says, “Oh, not at all, Dr. Weir, this is the most fun I’ve had since they stuck me behind a desk.”
“Truly, Dr. Weir,” Teal’c said, his voice low and deep, rivaling Ronon’s, “I have been looking forward to learning more of the cultures of the Pegasus galaxy, as well as of these Wraith.”
“We’re happy to have you,” Elizabeth laughed. “This way, gentlemen, we’ll get started on the grand tour right away.”
Sheppard grinned at Rodney and Rodney grinned back, because had they got a grand tour planned. It hadn’t started out as a game of one-upmanship, but Atlantis was cool and Rodney figured he owes himself a little pettinessâ€”after all, the SGC sent him to Siberia. It was only fair they feel cowed and emasculated by the awesomeness that is Atlantis compared to their dour, miserable underground bunker.
But then O’Neill falls into step with Sheppard, cutting right between him and Rodney and said:
“I’ve been reading your reports, Colonelâ€”” Rodney swore John stood up straighter than Rodney had thought his spine was physically capable of after all these years of cool slouching “â€”I’ve been impressed.”
John fairly vibrated with pride. “Thank you, sir.”
“Most of our success are because of me,” Rodney said matter-of-factly.
“It’s been a group effort,” Elizabeth cut in to say, casting Rodney a dirty look.
“I have to say this is shaping up to be the best vacation I’ve taken in years,” Sam said approvingly, grinning hugely. “This place isâ€¦even better than I’d imagined, McKay,” she murmured, giving Rodney a rueful look that Rodney figured was just a precursor to her fatuous love-declaration.
“Oh, you’re entirely too kind, Dr. Carter,” Rodney said not at all modestly.
“Getting back to your mission reports, Sheppardâ€”it’s some of the least homicide-inducing material that crosses my desk,” General O’Neill said to John, smirking. “Thanks for all the improbably hilarious crap.”
“I do what I can, sir,” John said sincerely and then cleared his throat nervously. “If you’d like, sir, my men and I are prepared to give you the Atlantis rundownâ€”and then a more comprehensive presentation on the Wraith situation in the Pegasus galaxy.”
Rodney wasn’t sure but it seemed kind of like O’Neill’s approval actually mattered to John, who was instantly allergic to almost all of his bosses, which was hilariously fitting, given their similarly, hilariously disastrous service jackets.
O’Neill laughed. “Sheppardâ€”I think we have much bigger alien fish to fry.”
“We do,” John said uncertainly.
“Yes, and they’re ziti shaped and flyâ€”” O’Neill made a zooming noise “â€”real fast, according to your reports.”
“Oh, oh,” John said, and his smile could have powered the city for six weeks. “Jumper bay it is.”
And then O’Neill smiled back and the combined force of their stupidly brilliant expressions could have kept most of the Pegasus galaxy running, and that was before O’Neill laughed at something John said as they were walking to the jumper bay and say approvingly, “Sheppard, you can be my co-pilot any day.”
Rodney was nearly certain that was some kind of weird, Air Force come-on and was about to squawk angrilyâ€”not because he was jealous or anything but even if Sheppard was probably an intergalactic slut he was Atlantis’ intergalactic slut and O’Neill had better leave well enough alone.
But then Rodney got all distracted and turned around when Zelenka all but shoved him out of the way and introduced himself to introduce himself to Samantha, and it turned out they both knew the same boring, feeble-minded guys in the same boring, feeble-minded fields and had even peer-reviewed the same papers before and they got along grandlyâ€”not even giving Rodney a chance to tell Sam that if she really really wanted, Rodney guessed they could make out before Zelenka had dragged her into the bowels of the city.
Not five minutes later, he was listening to her yelling “Holy Hannah!” with real conviction.
And then it was just Rodney and Elizabeth and Teal’c.
Elizabeth was all but giggling as she said, “I’ve always wanted an opportunity to speak with you about the Jaffa, Mister Teal’c, and you did say you were interested in Pegasus galaxy culture.”
Teal’c bowed a little at the waist, saying, “This is true. DoctorElizabethWeir.”
“I’ve arranged for Ronon and Teylaâ€”two of our friends hereâ€”to help with the briefing,” she said generously, and with a nod of her head, indicated Teal’c should follow. “If you’ll come this way.”
“Hey!” Rodney shouted after them. “What about me?”
Just then, he heard somebody yell, “Oh my God! Everybody! I think Atlantis just put on a laser light show for Colonel Sheppard and General O’Neill!”
By dinnertime, Rodney felt furious and slighted, and not even the sight of Samantha Carter bouncing around the labs and control room yelling “Holy Hannah!” could drag him out of the depths of self-indulgent misery. Sheppard and O’Neill had disappeared somewhere around what the Atlantis crew refers to fondly as the Lido deck and reports of them wreaking delighted havoc on the city with their ATA genes had been reported everywhere, with indulgent smiles from scientists Rodney did not hate previously but now does.
Sheppard and General O’Neill, with the powers of their ATA genes combined, found an Ancient concert hall, some sort of hovercraft racetrack (which they’d found and then wrecked two hovercrafts before they’d told anybody else about it), initiated the Ancient light show, found the children’s museum, a debilitatingly creepy aquarium filled with fossilized 10,000-year-old fish.
Then, they’d found the Ancient porno district and become the new heroes of Atlantis.
“Zero gravity porn,” John said over dinner, “is not as sexy as you’d think.”
“Some people seem to like it,” General O’Neill said innocently, looking around the sparsely populated mess.
He grinned at John. John grinned back. They shared a hetero-man-friends laugh.
Rodney hated them both so much he could barely see.
“I probably still need more flight hours on that puddlejumper, Sheppard,” O’Neill said.
“Of course, sir,” John said solemnly.
“For security reasons of course,” O’Neill went on.
“I agree completely, sir,” John said, and if he didn’t stop sounding so shitfaced thrilled about calling General O’Neill sir Rodney was going to vomit in his face.
Jack put his hand on John’s shoulder and said, “You’re doing good, Sheppard.”
John was so pleased he ducked his head, but Rodney figured if he let John Sheppard said, “Aw, shucks, sir,” he’d have to kill himself so he cleared his throat very loudly to break the moment and said, “So anyway.”
O’Neill laughed, pulling his hand away to clasp them together and lean forward on the table, giving Rodney an interested smile as he said, “That’s right, McKayâ€”Sheppard here tells me he had to put you through PT.” He cocked a brow at Sheppard. “How’s he handling a gun, Colonel.”
Rodney was feeling the beginnings of an aneurysm coming on, and as he rubbed at the space between his brows.
John said amiably, “Well, he remembers to reload now, so I guess we’re making progress.” He glanced at Rodney and then smiled at O’Neill, saying, “To be honest, McKay’s shooting here’s saved my ass before. I’m grateful for it.”
Rodney barely had enough time to puff up in manly pride before O’Neill all but ruffled John’s hair and said, “Thanks to your training, I bet.”
John made a noise that was probably “daww,” but Rodney refused to register it.
“I’m feeling suddenly nauseated,” Rodney snapped, getting up from the table and scowling furiously at John, who only blinked guileless hazel eyes at him and said:
“Yeah? You should go see Carson. Me and the General here got this new gizmo in the infirmaryâ€”it should fix you right up.”
Rodney made a noise that made John’s eyes go flatteringly large with wariness.
“Huh. I always sensed there was a barely controlled streak of violence in you,” O’Neill said.
“Rodney? Where’re John and General O’Neill?”
Rodney didn’t bother to peel his face from the lab table.
“They’re out drag-racing puddlejumpers,” he muttered into the table.
There was a long pause. “Oh,” Elizabeth said awkwardly. “Are you all right?”
Rodney wanted to yell, “No! No of course I am not all right! You invited General O’Neill and the rest of SG-1 here and Sam still doesn’t want to have sex with me and Dr. Jackson keeps touching things and breaking them and General O’Neill stole Colonel Sheppard! And now they’re drag-racing puddlejumpers and Sheppard didn’t even invite me!” but he managed to keep it all inside and say, “No. I’m good,” out loud instead.