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Title: First Christmas
Author name: Icarus
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sub Category: Humor
Summary: Well, they looked like pine trees.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe contained in this story are Copyright MGM, Showtime, Gekko, Double Secret. No infringement on their copyright is implied. Copyright © 2005 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: Totally unbeta'd, but nevertheless, written for The Grrrl, who said of course John would be the type to insist on a tree that was way too big for Rodney's pad. Set in season one.
"What? It's perfect!"
John gazed up at the massive conifer as if he'd found the Holy Grail. It did look a lot like a fir tree -- if you ignored the fact that each needle was shaped like a tiny hand. Unnerving, but from a distance (or covered in lots and lots of tinsel, Rodney could picture it) the illusion was nearly complete.
If said tree could actually fit in the puddlejumper.
"Allow a comment from the not-so-spatially-challenged: it won't work."
"You just put it over by the counter-thingy," John waved him off.
"The counter I need to eat at every day? That branch will go right over the top of it. I couldn't even set up my laptop."
John simply circled the tree. "Man, you couldn't ask for a more perfect shape." John wiggled his fingers at Rodney without so much as a glance in his direction. "Hand me that ax, will you?"
"What are we, the Griswalds? You are not blowing out all my windows in a quest for the perfect tree!"
John grinned at him. "You could use a little fresh air."
"It won't fit in the puddlejumper," Rodney pointed out, growing desperate.
John wavered momentarily, then shrugged. "So we tie it on top."
"The puddlejumper won't fit in my room, ergo, the tree won't fit in my room. This was probably on your SATs, you may recall it."
John squinted, then gave him a lopsided smile. "Nope. Nothing about puddlejumpers and trees comes to mind."
"Then leave it to an expert on cramming large objects into small, tight tiny little spaces: it's too big, it won't fit, and unlike certain other situations my room will not stretch to accommodate!"
"Relax, Rodney." John threw a lazy arm over his shoulder. "It'll fit."
~*~*~"You're out of your mind!" Rodney yelled, clinging to the console, the wind whipping through his hair.
Leave it to Sheppard to discover that the puddlejumper actually would stretch to accommodate the tree, if not quite enough to shut the back bay doors. Consequently, Rodney had tied both himself and the tree down and now visualized them all trapped and drowning in the ocean below should they crash, even though the probability of sliding out the back was infinitely greater. The jumper blared at them insistently with the Ancient version of "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" as the waves broke below them.
John laughed, his hair making crazy pinwheel patterns. "Isn't this great? It's like flying with the top down!"
A branch flew into Rodney's face. He spat and batted it away - then took a good look at what was in his hands.
"Um. John…." Rodney said, too quiet to be heard over the noise.
~*~*~They landed at Atlantis, since it was closer at that point than going back to the continent.
"Don't," Elizabeth interrupted them with a raised hand as they climbed out of the jumper, ready to explain. "We already tried."
She waved at an enormous thirty-foot tree set up in the jumper bay. It was a brilliant orange, with the little hand-like needles already beginning to drop to the ground.
"Apparently, according to botany anyway, they simply can't be moved. They may look like pine trees but they're not deciduous." She raised her chin bravely. "The good news is, at least we figured it out before anyone started decorating."
"That's the good news, huh?" John turned to Rodney. "Well, I guess it looks like we won't have to try and fit it-"
But Rodney had disappeared.
~*~*~A thorough search of his lab turned up empty, and Carson hadn't seen him, so Rodney hadn't gone off in a huff about possible "dead tree" allergens.
The cooks hadn't seen him. The botanists were too busy figuring out a way to alter the plant DNA to see if Atlantis could grow its own Christmas trees by next year, valuable efforts that John wasn't about to interrupt with questions about Rodney's whereabouts. "We'd keep it strictly separated from the local flora to avoid any biological contamination… it should work," they enthused.
Finally, John gave up and hit the transporter to return to his quarters. Or tried to. The panel blinked red at him, which usually meant that the destination he'd picked was out-which was strange-and then the nearest button transported him completely in the opposite direction he'd chosen. Frowning and puzzled, John elected to walk all the way back rather than risk being transported to, oh, underneath Atlantis or something equally weird.
Then outside his room, John thought open like he usually did, and the panel didn't move. He scanned the corridor walls and started thinking bad thoughts about Tribbles and alien tree spores gone mad, but so far as he could tell everything looked normal. He glared at his door and thought open louder, if that's what you could call it.
The panel glowed, and began to drag slowly, scraping along the floor.
"No, no, no, don't come in!" Rodney's voice complained from the other side of the door.
John blinked and the panel slid shut.
John leaned against the wall and knocked. On his own door. "May I come in?" he asked, very politely, managing to keep most of the irony out of his voice. Mostly.
"What, did you run here? Give me five more minutes!"
But the instant John considered breaking it down (if Ancient doors could be broken that was, he wasn't exactly sure), the panel slid open of its own accord. Rodney waved him in excitedly.
"Don't just stand out there, come in, come in!"
And John walked into a green light that striped his shirt with feathery patterns.
"No, back up a little," Rodney directed, then impatiently tugged him towards the bathroom.
Green light, red blinking balls… finally John's vision took it all in.
"It's a Christmas tree!" he laughed.
The three-dimensional holographic image filled the entire space over his bed and took up most of the living room.
"Isn't it?" Rodney beamed, then ran his hand through his hair. "The tinsel was a nightmare, but it just wouldn't be right without it."
John walked into the image, surrounded by green and glittering colors, spreading his arms as he turned around. "Blinking lights!"
"A little tacky, I know but…."
"Tacky's great! Tacky's perfect. How did you do this?" John asked in stunned amazement.
"Well, the Ancients are certainly fond of three-dimensional images, I just simply had to find something that wasn't relevant to our needs and-" but John had seized Rodney by the belt and dragged him into the middle of the hologram, swallowing his words in a big open-mouthed kiss. Rodney fluttered one hand but gave up on any explanations.
~*~*~An hour or so later, the two of them sprawled naked on John's bed, simply taking in John's new tree. Rodney described how he used fractals to program the pattern of the blinking lights. "Much more realistic."
John couldn't agree more.
"Can you do this for the rest of the base?" John asked, feeling a little sorry as he remembered the sad orange tree in the jumper bay.
"Of course. I intend to." Rodney smiled up at his handiwork. "After I finish the one in my room first, naturally." He leaned up on one elbow and looked infinitely smug. "You want to know the best part?"
John raised his eyebrows in place of a question.
Rodney's smile tipped sideways at his own cleverness. "These don't take up any space at all."