Corporal De Soto rubs a crucifix between his fingers and murmurs a few words before stepping through the Stargate. Zelenka has a small pigeon feather that he runs his fingers across while muttering some nonsense in Czech. Sergeant Harris used to spit on the floor before Lorne had a word with him and made him clean every inch of the gate room but Rodney had noticed he merely spits into his hand and wipes it on his BDUs these days. Captain Larabee's larger unit of soldiers and scientists huddle together like an American Football team, breaking apart with a whoop once Larabee utters the words, "Let's ride". Bates used to throw back his shoulders, stare at the open wormhole and then nod once, as if he'd given himself an internal pep talk, while Lorne waits until he believes no one is looking and then taps his sidearm three times.
Over time Rodney had noticed all these strange little rituals, like Elizabeth's Be Safe to each departing team, and almost sneered at the useless superstition until the first time they left without Elizabeth's send-off, feeling the nervousness settle uneasily in his gut. He'd been jumpy for the whole mission, and so had the others. Carter has her own ritual of reciting pi to fifteen places, probably her version of a prayer after years of missions with the double trouble magnets of O'Neill and Jackson, while Woolsey has developed his ritual of rubbing a hand across his bald head nervously.
Still, Rodney prides himself--and his team--on the fact that they don't have any stepping through the Stargate rituals despite having two Pegasus natives on the team. It makes him feel just that little more superior to the rest of them as he shrugs into a TAC vest, fills its pockets with all the essential equipment--PDA, PowerBars, EpiPen--and checks his sidearm is tight enough before ensuring his laptop is securely Velcro'ed to the backpack before pulling it on.
They move into the gate room with Sheppard laughing and joking while Rodney bitches about the unnecessary mission ahead and the lab time he would be missing; all of them pausing just beyond the splash zone as the chevrons encoded. Without a second thought he turns to face Sheppard and lets John make final adjustments to the zipper or straps of whatever TAC vest Rodney has picked up today. Familiar, agile fingers brush across his shoulder and chest, sending warm tremors through him in the only intimate public touching they can allow. They share a look, offering a tiny smile that sends Rodney's thoughts blazing back to lying naked in John's arms earlier this morning, sated and content, and then John claps him on the shoulder. He rolls his eyes as Ronon strokes his beard and smirks back at him, hearing Teyla's gentle sigh as she rubs her forehead with two fingers in a familiar gesture, as if he, John and Ronon were already giving her a headache.
Woolsey's voice trails behind them as he step through the Stargate with his team surrounding him, guns held lightly in readiness.
Perhaps other teams needed rituals--but not his.