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Author name: Icarus
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sub Category: Humor
Pairing: John, Rodney
Summary: Rodney's report wasn't technically late if Sheppard was still in his office at ten o'clock at night.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe contained in this story are Copyright MGM, Showtime, Gekko, Double Secret. No infringement on their copyright is implied. Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or part without the author's explicit permission. Ask, guys. I'm easy to reach and usually quite generous.
Author notes: Unbeta'd, as usual.
John sighed heavily, running a hand through rumpled hair. "Colonel Sumner's gear. It's been sitting in his room for the last month. They just brought it up today."
Rodney made a brave attempt to look regretful, or sad, or whatever it was people were supposed to feel at these times, despite the fact that Sumner had been inconveniently slow to respond to every vital life-saving attempt to shut power off in Atlantis their first day. Rodney had more than a sneaking suspicion that that they'd just seen natural selection at work.
Sheppard picked up a holster and turned it in his hands unseeingly. "I'm supposed to… I'm supposed to send it all back to his family. Write a letter." He set it down and made a vague gesture at the rest of the room. "Of course I can't send it anywhere."
Rodney pursed his lips. "Well… it's the thought that counts."
That was what people said, wasn't it? Sheppard snorted, and he poured himself something Rodney suspected wasn't water, in which case he should be sharing.
Rodney peered over the collection as if it were potentially useful artifacts. He frowned. Speaking of artifacts….
"Is that really an old Walkman?" He pointed. Sheppard just shrugged. "Colonel Sumner listened to music?" Rodney couldn't quite contain his disbelief.
Sheppard tipped his head noncommittally. "Couldn't vouch for it. Never saw it myself."
There was already a tape inside. Rodney picked it up without hesitation, pulled on the headphones and pressed play.
"I don't think you should…" Sheppard began.
"Doo-Wop?" Rodney said, listening incredulously.
"Gimme that." Sheppard snatched away the headphones and listened with a strange awed expression.
Rodney took it back and gratefully found that at least Sumner had the expensive kind with the little built-in speakers. The old 50s music echoed off the high walls and vaulted ceilings of Atlantis, outrageously cheerful. Perky even.
A wondering smile spread across Sheppard's face. Rodney choked on a helpless laugh.
"So much about Sumner just fell into place…" Rodney said, dazed, shaking his head. "You know, I find it ironic that the first trace of a personality is unearthed after he's dead." Sheppard spluttered and Rodney felt that familiar sense of uncertain horror, all expression draining from his face. "I wasn't supposed to say that, was I?"
Sheppard dipped his head in an attempt to hide a slow sheepish smile. Finally, he gave it up and shrugged, grinning. "It's true."
Rodney nodded, grateful. "It is."
They listened quietly, until the tinny sound irritated Rodney. He clicked it off.
"Hey!" John complained. "That's great stuff!"
"It's terrible!" Rodney said. "This is stone age! He was probably controlled by a lizard brain at the base of his spine." He ignored Sheppard's annoyance as he wrestled with some wires and Sheppard's laptop, and then - ah.
The room filled with the suddenly loud strains of "Bells gonna ring, gonna ring-ring… bells gonna ring for me and my gal!" coming in clear through the speakers on John's computer.
"There's only so much technological horror I can stand." Rodney breathed a sigh of relief and sat down on a box of uniforms.
"It kinda sounded like a 78."
"I'm not into gramophones."
Sheppard grinned, head bobbing to the music, shoulders swaying, unselfconscious if dreamy. He gave a self-mocking smile and sang, "The birds are sing-ing-! For me and my gal!" painfully off-key.
Rodney winced. He had to be a true karoke horror. The only hope for it was to drown him out.
It wasn't hard to pick up the simple ditty. Besides, Rodney couldn't resist that much fun. Sheppard had the good sense to slip into the bass line as Rodney's clear well-trained tenor took up the melody.
They were well into the next song when Rodney heard a soft, "Gentleman-?"
Elizabeth's amused voice brought them up short, glancing at each other in embarrassment. She stood at the door and looked between them with a trace of a smile. "I didn't know you could sing, Rodney."
"Yes, well, I'm very talented," Rodney said cheerfully as he turned the music down.
Sheppard held up his glass and explained, "Colonel's Sumner's gear." He stretched out into a sprawl in his chair, legs straddled.
"We're having an impromptu wake of sorts, I guess. If you'd care to join us." He gestured to one of the many very full chairs.
"I'm afraid I can't sing," she apologized as she stepped in, looking around wonderingly at the mess.
"That would make two of you," Rodney said. "And if this is a wake, shouldn't you be sharing that?" He indicated Sheppard's glass.
John finally woke up to the fact he was the host and dug out a couple of coffee cups that in all likelihood weren't clean, but Rodney wasn't complaining. He coughed at the first swallow, pounding his chest. "Wow."
"Smooth?" John smirked.
"Rat poison." Rodney scowled, then took another experimental sip. "But not bad when compared to rocket fuel."
"Or nothing at all," John added.
"We should invite the rest of the team in here," Elizabeth suggested.
"That's a very good idea," John nodded lazily.
None of them moved. The music continued to play.
A little frown creased Elizabeth's forehead. "So is that… Doo-Wop?"
"Looks like." John raised his glass in a toast. "To Colonel Sumner. Nice to finally meet the man." He clicked her glass, then Rodney's coffee cup.