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Christmas on Atlantis was one of those politically correct mish-mash of holidays designed by Woolsey to be inclusive of even their alien partners. Everyone brought something in to represent their idea of the holiday season, though Rodney knew most were commercially-motivated. They wanted gifts, good food and partying. Not that Rodney could see anything wrong in that. He might be an atheist but any excuse for cake was good enough for him, and if Radek broke out the good coffee and vodka in celebration then who was he to complain.

One tradition he could have done without was mistletoe, especially as certain parties had totally embraced the concept of macking under the mistletoe. Fortunately he had managed to avoid all the sprigs that had miraculously survived a three week trip on the Daedalus despite Rodney's bribery to have the lot accidentally jettisoned in the void between galaxies. He had too many bad memories associated with mistletoe starting in kindergarten where Tommy Pike gave him his first punch for kissing him. Apparently Tommy's parents had never explained the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe to their son, and Rodney's parents had never mentioned the kissing was reserved for between boys and girls.

He'd accepted that explanation for years until he saw two girls kissing under the mistletoe and realized his parents were so wrong about so many, many things. If two girls could do it then two boys could as well. It was only logical, but kissing Marty Neuman had earned him his second punch under the mistletoe. Admittedly he was only thirteen and Marty was sixteen but he decided there and then that mistletoe was one of those social pitfalls to be avoided at all costs.

Of course it didn't help that someone thought it clever to place a sprig right over the main laboratory door, but glares and threats of sanitary drainage duty soon had them hanging back or running in the opposite direction whenever Rodney came in or out of the lab.

Obviously not everyone got the message, and Rodney froze like a deer caught in the headlights of a semi-trailer as John's soft lips descended upon his and kissed him like he needed the very air in Rodney's lungs to survive. John pulled back and carried on into the lab, greeting Radek as if nothing had happened, leaving Rodney a stunned wreck behind him.

The second time it happened, Rodney was just as unprepared even though the grapevine was running rampant because John had studiously avoided kissing anyone else under the mistletoe. John's hands had cupped the back of Rodney's head, preventing him from drawing back even if his higher brain functions had been engaged. Lorne and the others had merely raised an eyebrow and then ignored the whole thing, but Rodney felt the tingle on his lips long after John had moved off just as nonchalantly as last time to debrief the returning off-world team. That feeling stayed with him all day and fueled his dreams that night, leaving him hard and wanting by morning.

News that John had officially come out as gay spread quickly around Atlantis and everything fell into place. Mistletoe was no longer the enemy but his greatest ally, giving him something he had always wanted but assumed he could never have - John.

The third time it happened, Rodney kissed John back.