“You are all wicked!” the leader of the Destani screeched, jumping up from his seat and pointing emphatically at Team Sheppard. “You have sinned!”
The people around them at the banquet leapt to their feet, clutching hands to their mouths and backing away from them in dismay, gabbering nonsensically to each other.
John looked at his teammates and gestured toward Ronon’s hand, which was clutching a bizarre-looking wooden spork thing. “Wrong fork.”
It turned out that, on Destani, using the wrong fork at the Emperor’s most special banquet was punishable by being mobbed into the forest, tied to trees, and fed to something called the Eater of the Dead.
“Except you,” the leader begrudged, jerking his chin at Rodney. “You’re fine.” Rodney, who had never in his life been congratulated on his table manners, assumed that they wanted to keep him around to fix things, or possibly for sexual slavery.
“So I had to listen to them describing the long jagged teeth and lumbering hugeness of this monster that was going to eat you for, like, an hour before I could sneak out. How're you guys doing?”
Teyla directed Rodney’s attention to the ropes that bound her to a tree.
“Oh, of course,” Rodney smiled and started cutting her free with the knife he’d appropriated from the banquet hall after the Destani had taken his stuff.
Sheppard squirmed against his ropes. “Uh, Rodney? Unless you want to fight the monster with a butter knife, you’d better hurry up.”
Rodney looked behind him. “Oh, just like the pictures,” he said faintly. Then he cut Teyla free so that she could shoot the Eater of the Dead in the brain with her nine millimeter. They all watched it twitch for a minute.
“Cut me out next,” Ronon grumbled.Zeugma
On Atlantis, Rodney missed google, takeout Chinese food, his sister, and a clear shot at a wraith that was feeding on a Marine on P7X-239.
On Earth, Rodney misses his alien friends, the lost city of Atlantis, and the feeling that he misses his sister. Even at thirty-two, she’s still a brat.
On the tailgate of an old Ford truck at three in the morning in the middle of the Nevada desert, Rodney misses military protocol, automatic weapons, and his chance to make a move, when John brushes up close to him. Rodney lowers his eyes and scoots away from him on the tailgate a little.
“Where you goin?” Sheppard asks, easy, friendly. Even dressed like a man who isn’t negotiating with a potentially hostile alien culture, John gives nothing away.
John’s wearing a collared work shirt, jeans, and out Rodney’s patience.
John hands him another warm American beer. Rodney takes it. Their hands do that brushing-against-each-other thing that hands do sometimes when friends hand each other beer.
“Nowhere.” It’s been too long since Sheppard asked the question, and the answer sounds weird, a word all by itself in the desert.
“Good.” Sheppard’s hand bridges the distance to Rodney’s thigh. His warm hand clasps Rodney’s knee, squeezes firmly.
Rodney raises his courage, his beer for a quick clink!, and his eyes to meet John’s.