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Everything's Under Control, Situation Normal

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John has no idea exactly what Rodney's costume will be, right up until moments before they leave for trick-or-treating. Some kind of Star Wars connection is a given; let no one suggest they're a family who doesn't know how to theme. Merrie's sitting on the living room floor, smashing blocks into one another, wearing a white onesie, baby cords, and a hoodie he ordered online, along with a brown fleece hat onto which John's glued big curled-up braids of chocolate-colored wool – John likes to think she's Leia-chic. Finn's lurking somewhere – probably the pantry, where he's convinced they're already hiding Christmas presents – dressed head to toe as the best four-foot-high Vader John's ever seen, and if he's had to put up with Finn practicing his Darth breathing for six-and-a-half days (since Rodney suggested they all watch Episode IV for research purposes) he has no doubt it'll be worth it when the kid whacks Ronon in the crotch with his plastic lightsaber of doom.

"RODNEY," John yells up toward the bedroom where Rodney's doing god knows what with who knows what results. "C'mon already."

"Yes, yes," Rodney shouts back. "You can't hurry genius, flyboy."

John rolls his eyes, hitches the holster slung around his hips until it settles in a more comfortable position. He's pretty damn pleased with his own costume. He's been trying to act like Han Solo for more than thirty years – he'll take his wish fulfillment where he can get it. "None of this would be taking so long if you'd just agreed to be Luke."

"One," Rodney offers in objection, "Luke's a pansy. Two, I look bad in white. Three, he's a pansy."

"He saves the galaxy!"

"And he's a pansy while he does it!" Rodney yells back. There's the shuffle of footsteps from above. "I'm coming down, shut up."

Finn comes tearing in from the kitchen, a suspicious trail of cheeto crumbs down his costume and his lips stained the orange of the dark force. "Ready, ready, now, come on!" he says, and whoops as Rodney comes downstairs, Obi-Wan Kenobi cloak billowing behind him.

"Nice beard," says John, reaching out to touch the fake whiskers Rodney's attached to his face somehow.

"Santa suit," Rodney says smugly, stroking his moustache. "I clipped it a bit."

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAFAAGA," Merrie says from behind them, cackling wildly, her hat having slipped down toward her left shoulder, giving her the appearance of a slightly deranged bear cub.

Rodney huffs and bustles over to her, picking her up (she squeals delightedly at the rush of speed and motion, and John can't help but smirk at how she's so his gene carrier) and mutters, "I really am your only hope, aren't I?" as he straightens her wool-and-fleece hair.

"LUKE," Finn yells, hands above his head, lightsaber threatening to take out John's eye. "I AM YOUR FATHER."

"Good job, buddy," John says, patting him on the shoulder. "Remember we're only saying that to kids in karate costumes, yeah?"


"Okay that you can say to anyone," Rodney offers, somewhat distracted as he tries to avoid having his beard pulled off his face by his daughter's inquisitive hands. "Especially Laura. Except she's already there."

John smothers a grin. "How about we try and make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs?" he suggests.

"Where's Kessel?" Finn asks, tipping back his helmet to stare at John.

"Really close to the courthouse," John improvises. "Over by the tackle shop."

"Leaving now!" Rodney says, sweeping toward the back door. "Grab the pillowcases!"

"LUKE," Finn yells as he runs after him. "I AM YOUR . . . LUUUUUUKE. LUUUUUUUUUUKE. S'a good word. LUUUUUKE."

John tries to stop himself, but he's pretty much a lost cause. "I've got a bad feeling about this," he says gleefully, and snorts happily as he locks the back door.

They wrangle the kids into their car seats, remember the flashlights at the last minute, and pause to gather their wits for just a moment when Merrie joins in Finn's yelling with all the grace and tunefulness of a Tauntaun on speed. "At least you're a Jedi," John says as he closes the back door of the car without crushing Finn's lightsaber – proof of his Han Solo reflexes. "I kinda like it when you brandish your . . ."

Rodney splutters a little as he clambers into the driver's seat, carefully attending to the arrangement of his robes. "Is there any wonder they only let your character fly space ships?" he asks as John slides into the passenger seat beside him. "I'm not sure you have the requisite intellectual ability to . . ."

John smirks. "Can I feel the force later?"

Rodney turns the keys in the ignition. "Midicholorians help me."

"Is that a lightsaber in your pocket or . . ."

Rodney makes a small sound and turns in his seat, and for a second John's not sure if he's going to punch him or kiss him. Happily, it's the latter.

"Nice rebellion you got going," John murmurs against Rodney's lips. "Now, you want to drive this bucket of bolts or . . ."

"LUUUUUUKE," Finn says. "I AM YOUR, hey, can we get candy now?"

"Good idea," John says, slouching in his seat and snickering as Rodney Meredith-Kenobi forgets which way to move the gear-shift for reverse.

"OMAMAMAMAM AMAM MA MAAAAAA," Merrie says helpfully, something about roadworks near Mos Eisley, and watching out for people walking single file.

"These aren't the droids you're looking for," Rodney tells her firmly, and John can't help but reach over to lay hand on his thigh as they pull out onto the county road.