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All's Well that Ends As You Like It

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All's Well that Ends As You Like It

You can't decide who of everyone involved in this whole catastrophe is maddening you most, so, being Doctor Rodney McKay, you naturally decide to be mad at everyone. Mad is good. Mad helps distract you - a little - from being terrified.

So you're good and mad, even if you can't be mad at the top of your voice as you usually do. You can't even move. You're annoyed by your two teammates' dumbfounded faces, by the look in Teyla's eyes that says she is trying hard not to laugh, and by the look in Ronon's eyes that promises he and Sheppard are never going to stop laughing at you about this.

You're way more than just annoyed at Sheppard, who managed to avoid your terrifying fate by hanging back to flirt with the cut-price alien Cleopatra dressed in a reptiloid-skin farthingale (and not much else), and is now stuck outside with Lorne and any of the villagers who didn't manage to squeeze into the room to marvel the performance you are unwillingly giving.

You're exasperated with the villagers who, as part of their Mystery Rites, are re-enacting what they claim to have believed for thousands of years to be a genuine Ancient spiritual drama. No, of course you didn't believe it, but you played along with everyone else and then found out it involves the ritual opening of a Sacred Ancient Sanctuary, or what they say is a Secret Ancient Sanctuary, but you think it looks disconcertingly more like a very very very old and skewed-in-ways-even-your-brilliant-brain-doesn't-quite-understand holographic... theatre. With what looked to your brilliant brain (okay, okay, and everyone else's less than brilliant ones, but that's not the point) like a storeroom, but which turns out to be some sort of alien closet.

You're fuming at (and trying to ignore) the little voice in the back of your head that sounds disagreeably like Kate Heightmeyer and is asking why you thought that opening an alien closet was a good idea in the first place, even if they had said that it was Ancient, and therefore you immediately decided that whatever was in it might be useful.

You're also seething at Kate Heightmeyer for being so disagreeably hard to ignore even when she's just a voice in your own head.

You're furious at the visiting linguist/anthropologist/archaeologist for not stopping you from touching the closet before he could, since you're certain that there would be something in his demented curriculum vitae just like this, so clearly he would have more experience of... whatever it is you're in danger of. Who invited him to this galaxy?

You're absolutely livid at whichever Ancient built the wardrobe in the first place and stored what the visiting linguist/anthropologist/archaeologist is even now theorizing were the Ancient equivalent of amateur dramatic paraphernalia in it. Whoever heard of advanced aliens that went in for overacting, melodrama and...?

Oh. You think back over the advanced aliens you know, and scratch that thought. All of them, and you're mad with them all.

And you're finally, absolutely enraged at all and any of the other Ancients who appear to have invented their own version of amateur dramatics with living costumes... still living after 10,000 years for gods sake, and determined to make up for lost time by enacting or at least inscribing the whole Ancient amateur theatrical canon - with their tiny, pure purple energy bodies and tiny, sparkly, sharp claws - in moving, glowing and fading words and letters. Blank verse in Ancient.

On you.

The visiting linguist/anthropologist/archaeologist is of course busily, even enthusiastically, translating it for the breathlessly awestruck audience of locals, teammates and a couple of gobsmacked Marines in fake armor and tights.

The tiny part of your brain that isn't furious, terrified or completely mortified can't help being glad it's him instead of Elizabeth. After all it's not even clear if, in the total thrall of transliteration, Doctor Daniel Jackson has even noticed that your horrible dirt-brown robes have been dissolved by the little letter-creatures and therefore - except for the skittering words and letters across your skin - you're totally naked. The locals may be staring at the purple light show, but certainly don't seem to notice or care that you're naked. Teyla (with some success), the Marines (with rather less) and Ronon (with none at all) are trying to pretend that they don't care and are looking somewhere else anyway.

You care, but don't dare move. Those tiny, sparkly claws hurt.


"Stay calm, Rodney." Teyla speaks up with that sweet, gentle tone of reason that she still has yet to realize never works with you. Despite the total, if depressingly familiar, insanity of the situation she has remained calm and collected, and even in your current straits you can't help noticing she manages to look pretty good in cheap-looking knitted tinfoil alien armor, baggy green tights and cocked hat.

Ronon looks big and menacing and magnificently ridiculous in the same tinfoil alien armor, way too small reddish tights and a fake copper crown askew on his dreadlocks. Everyone had to be in costume; the locals (who all look like a cross between a fifth-rate amateur Shakespeare festival, an explosion in an alien fake-feather factory, and a whole troupe of rather querulous Klingon impersonators) insisted from the start that you were all to take part in the spiritual drama in exchange for being allowed into the Sacred Ancient Sanctuary. Even the soldiers had to dress up, and the not quite so incensed part of your brain notes that the armor and the tights look even more ridiculous with their P-90s.

(The totally incensed part, by the way, notes that Daniel got to dress as differently as you did, but his dirty-white Space Angel costume is far less ugly than yours was and covers him a damn sight better than yours does now. This does not help.)