It had been a day. Not a particularly great day, or even a bad day, just a day spent drilling Marines new to Atlantis in some of the unique situations they might encounter, and trying to suppress his amusement whenever Ronon mopped the floor with yet another over-confident soldier. Even with traces of gray beginning to show in his dreadlocks, the Pegasus native was fierce.
Strolling down the hall toward his room, John continued to feel the little niggle at the back of his brain that said he was forgetting something about the day. It wasn't just a day spent training Marines, it was… what was it? The door slid open, revealing Rodney at his desk, typing away on his laptop, wearing a dark blue shirt with star constellations glittering all over it and tan shorts.
"Party," John grimaced. All those new Marines had been brought by the visiting Hammond, and Woolsey had mentioned having a party to celebrate their arrival. The Wraith hadn't been fully defeated – would those suckers ever go away? – but the few remaining hives were mostly on the run, allowing the arrivals of Earth ships to be treated as joyous occasions rather than desperate 'thank you for bringing more supplies, seriously, is that all the bullets you got?' events.
"Party," Rodney agreed, not even breaking in his typing. "I put out clothes for you. Chop, chop. There may be cake."
"Five minutes," John promised. Even with a deadline, he stared at his hair in the mirrored reflection for a good 30 seconds, before deciding there was no point to another futile effort at taming his cowlicks. What the heck, Rodney seemed to like his hair with all its ridiculousness, and his opinion was what mattered. Rodney had put out shorts for him too, and his Hawaiian shirt with the surfboard design.
They must really be late, John decided, as they approached the doors to the north pier, because no one else was around. He glanced at his watch as they walked through the door, trying to remember when the party was supposed to start, and was almost deafened by the loud, "Surprise!"
Seemingly everyone who was anyone was there, wearing fake leis around their necks, standing on the pier under a big banner that read, "Happy 10th Anniversary, John and Rodney!"
"Anniversary," John moaned, finally remembering why the back of his brain had been trying to tell him it was A Day.
Rodney caught his hand, curling their fingers together. "For once, your forgetfulness was useful. You didn't try to make plans that got in the way of these plans."
John gave him a weak smile, because that was great, Rodney putting a good spin on it, but still… "I don't have a present for you."
Speaking directly in his ear, Rodney leered, "I'll let you make it up to me."
John shivered at the thought of how he would make it up to Rodney, as he had pretty much every previous anniversary. Rodney was surprisingly forgiving of his husband's tendency to forgetful important dates, especially since John was very thorough in his efforts at redemption.
And then they were engulfed in hugs and good wishes. All the Atlanteans scientists and soldiers, including Ronon, Amelia, and their two kids, Teyla, Kanaan, and Torren, Woolsey, Carson, Lorne, Radek, but also Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson, Cameron and Vala, Carter, Teal'c, and Jeannie and Kaleb Miller. Even Ford, still looking a little shaky after being rescued several years ago, but standing at the edge of the large crowd and seeming to tolerate it.
"I can't believe you guys came all the way out here," John said, hugging his favorite sister-in-law.
Jeannie squeezed him back. "Madison's at college now, so it seemed a good time to work with Rodney on some projects. And Kaleb has a sabbatical."
"Come on, we get to start the line," Rodney said, grabbing John's elbow. "Burgers first, hugs later."
A band started playing Ring of Fire, a woman with a smoky voice singing. Glancing over at the makeshift platform, John studied but didn't recognize any of the players.
"They're from the Hammond. I gave them a playlist to practice, classics you like. Plate?"
John accepted the plate, following in Rodney's wake as they loaded up with freshly grilled burgers with all the fixings and French fries made from potatoes grown by the Athosians on the mainland. There were even bottles of beer, and John happily dug out two from a big bucket filled with water and ice cubes before Rodney directed them to chairs.
Some people settled down at the table around them, while others continued to drift by. O'Neill clasped him on the shoulder, leaning down, and yelling in his ear to be heard over the band, "Congratulations! I never actually thought you guys would make it a decade!"
"I never thought we'd get started at all," John admitted back, because it had taken a ridiculously long time after John had fallen for Rodney before DADT had been repealed, and an even longer time before John had taken advantage of the big break-up fight between Rodney and Keller to confess his feelings. He was still amazed that his stumbling, incoherent confession was greeted only by an impatient, "Are you kidding me? After all this time?" and an immediate segue into an amazing night of really wild, hot sex.
O'Neill glanced at Rodney, who was expostulating earnestly to Radek on his other side, with an expression on his face like he didn't quite understand the attraction, but he restricted himself to saying, "I expect some good fishing when you get back!" He wandered off, followed by Daniel, as John turned to Rodney, nudging his side to get his attention from Radek to ask, "When we get back?"
"We've got a week's leave at the cabin," Rodney explained. "Lorne's going to be in charge of the military."
"Cool." The cabin was close to the Athosian settlement, built by soldiers, and used sometimes as an R&R location for those who liked fishing and hiking, and other times by recovering patients who needed extra peace, quiet, and Carson's prescribed 'fresh air.' A week vacation would be great. They could sleep in, eat when they wanted, and have fantastic sex whenever the urge possessed them, which should be every few hours, in John's estimation. "Shouldn't O'Neill be in charge?"
Rodney shrugged. "I only contacted O'Neill to make sure Jeannie and Kaleb could come, and to let him know that Woolsey had given permission for Lorne to be in charge of the military for a week. O'Neill invited himself and said he and Daniel would go to the cabin when we come back. The rest invited themselves and I have no idea what they plan on doing."
Somehow that seemed completely logical that all of SG-1 would invite themselves along to a six week trip. "Who wouldn't want to party in the Pegasus Galaxy?"
The band had switched to Louie, Louie, and Vala was up on the stage, joining in the singing, flashing her bare midriff as she waved her arms over her head. John wondered if she understood the lyrics any better than he ever had.
Another hand landed on John's shoulder, Ford leaning close. "I just wanted to wish you guys congratulations."
"I'm glad you could make it," John said sincerely.
"I was talking to this guy." Ford waved at Teal'c, standing behind him. "He suggested teaching me some meditation."
"Sounds good." Anything that might help Ford fully recover was worth trying. "Did you get a burger?"
Ford shook his head. "Maybe we'll stop by later on."
"Colonel Sheppard, Doctor McKay, congratulations on your tenth anniversary," Teal'c said in his deep voice.
John and Rodney thanked him, watching briefly as Ford and Teal'c headed to the doors. Rodney squeezed John's hand. "You did good rescuing him."
A sudden thought crossed John's mind. "There aren't going to be speeches, are there?"
"About what a great couple we are? About all the amazing things we've done for the natives of the Pegasus Galaxy and for the safety of the Milky Way? About your handsomeness and reckless disregard for danger and my incredible ability to pull miracles out of thin air?"
John was sure he was looking more and more alarmed, but he couldn't help picturing Woolsey droning on, O'Neill saying something pithy and absurd, would Carter feel required to speak too?
Rodney cuffed him upside the head. "I would think after a decade of marriage, that you would trust me to know how you would enjoy celebrating. "
"No speeches, we were warned, several times," Cameron said cheerfully, setting two beers down by their plates. "You guys look like you need a refill. And I need to help with this song," he added, before heading to the stage, clearly intending to participate in I Shot The Sheriff.
"There was discussion of singing, not joining the band without permission singing," Rodney added, waving his beer at Vala and Cameron on the stage, "but singing when the cake is brought out, and we blow out the 10 candles, but no one could settle on an appropriate song. For they are jolly good fellows was the common suggestion."
"So there will be cake."
"Most definitely. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting."
Teyla sat down opposite them, with her own plate of food and beer. "I wish to add my congratulations too," she said, reaching out to briefly squeeze their hands with her own. "It has been a pleasure being your friend and knowing the two of you as a couple."
John shifted, always uncomfortable with expressions of feelings, thankful that Rodney was there to answer for the two of them. "We are grateful for your friendship, and for Kanaan's and Torren's too." Giving a 'me too' nod, John followed it up with a long swig of his beer, which earned him a rueful look from Teyla, who clearly recognized his evasiveness. She knew him too well.
"Cake won't be for another half hour," Rodney said with a trace of wistfulness, checking his watch. "The cook wanted everyone to have plenty of time to eat."
"And then will there be presents?" John asked, not really feeling the need for presents, but he wouldn't mind if Ronon gave him a knife. He had the coolest knives.
"No presents," Rodney said, again with regret. "People seemed to think that was too much to expect."
Teyla smiled mysteriously. "Perhaps Rodney does not know everything about the party that was organized for both of you."
Rodney perked up, sitting straighter. "Will there be presents?"
Teyla just gave another smile and took a bite of her burger, her own evasive moment, which made John figure yes, there would be presents. Good food, good beer, good music, and later on, good cake, good presents, and maybe he'd even drag Rodney into the space where people were dancing and sway against him for a song or two. Surely the band would have a slow song in their repertoire. But most of all, great friends, friends who were family, celebrating their 10 years of marriage with them.
Then even later on, back to their room, and he'd let Rodney strip him and press him into the bed, and he'd use his hands and mouth and body to make up for always being the forgetful one.
John let his head drop to Rodney's broad shoulder, feeling Rodney's hand come up to caress his hair. Happy 10th Anniversary to the both of them. Life didn't get better than a beautiful evening of surprises with his husband and their family in the Pegasus Galaxy.
~ the end ~