Genre: Team; gen; silliness.
Timeline/Spoilers: Vaguely early season five, I suppose.
Warnings: None, I think, except for a lame probably-not-even-pun.
Disclaimer: Plot mine; Stargate characters and environments not. (Transformative work.)
Notes: I've never done flashfic before, but I'm trying to learn how to write anything non-angsty and anything under 15,000 words. I only missed the suggested upper limit here by half again, so that's actually pretty good for me! I'm sure this has been done before, but it popped straight into my head when I saw this challenge and I couldn't resist. I'm also breaking my own rule against posting without first using a beta, so please feel free to let me know of anything I missed.
Archives: At Dreamwidth; At AO3; Crossposted from sga_flashfic.
Summary: John really should have known better than to bet against Ronon.
"You get to choose the movie?" John couldn't believe his ears. "That's it?"
"And you have to watch it with us."
"But … Ronon, not that I'm complaining, but you really could aim a lot higher than that, buddy." John should have known better. He did know better. But he got suckered into betting against Ronon, and Ronon had won the right to demand one thing, no matter how outrageous. Well, not murder or anything like that, but still. "All you want is the movie pick? You were up soon anyway."
"Movie pick, and you watch it with us. The whole thing. No sudden emergencies or reports to file or anything. You have to stay and watch the whole thing." Ronon grinned, and John swallowed heavily as a thread of nervousness tickled his spine. He did not flinch when Ronon draped his arm heavily across John's shoulders and steered him to the lounge area the team used.
"It's a weeper, isn't it? Postcards from the Edge? Steel Magnolias? It's not that Ya-Ya Sisterhood thing, is it?" Ronon's grin just grew wider. Great, it was probably going to be something like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Or maybe someone got him liking those Bollywood things.
Rodney's voice floated down the hall as they neared the lounge. "— inherently a bad word. I mean, we're all aliens here, right, to you guys? And I was one, before we came here. In Sheppard's country, I mean. His government called me a resident alien, which meant I could work there but I wasn't really a citizen so I couldn't do certain things, like vote in their elections. Huh," he added as John and Ronon entered the room. "I guess that makes you and Ronon resident aliens in the expedition, kind of."
"Including our exclusion from some of your command decisions?" Teyla's voice was drily amused.
"Oh, well … that's … we try to include you. Mostly. At least, I do. I mean, we all do, it's just — anyway, I was saying, it's a perfectly harmless word."
"So you now regret what you did to Dr. Beck's laundry?"
"What? Are you kidding? Of course not, the man's an ass and he shouldn't have been talking about you that way. And having to borrow spare clothing from your people never hurt anyone. Well, except the other people in his lab if he ever wears that low-cut thing again. I just meant you should blame the person spouting the ignorance, not the words he used for it, necessarily. We don't all mean anything nefarious by it."
"Messing with laundry, Rodney?" John asked. "That's new. Couldn't they just get new uniforms?"
Rodney looked over to grin at him. "Mysterious shortage —" His face fell suddenly, and the "actually" he finished the statement with came out sounding oddly guilty. "Look, Sheppard, this, um … this wasn't my idea. At all."
"It's just a movie, Rodney. I think we'll survive." Besides, maybe Rodney would turn out to have a secret fondness for whatever embarrassing movie was scheduled. This had the potential for weeks of entertainment.
Rodney looked down at the bag in his suddenly nervous hands. "You say that now," he muttered.
Ronon clapped John on the back hard enough to make him stagger forward. "Have a seat, Sheppard."
John sat, puzzled by Rodney's reaction. Teyla gave John an odd, tight smile. Ronon went over to loom over Rodney, who handed him the bag with clear reluctance. "I should never have told you about —"
"Yeah, yeah, you said," Ronon interrupted. He turned slightly in what couldn't have been an accident before pulling the DVD from the bag.
With a glimpse of the cover, John was on his feet immediately. "No. Hell no." And, crap, he'd let Ronon steer him to the seat furthest from the door. Ronon grinned yet again, clearly blocking the way out.
John looked to Teyla, who only smiled again. "You did promise, John," she said, moving to stand beside Ronon.
John looked around wildly, finding exactly no other escapes. "McKay! Back me up here, dammit!"
Rodney stood slowly, bit his lip, and went to stand with the others.
"What … McKay!" John cried, betrayed.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I am, I really am, but Ronon — you said it yourself, Sheppard, everybody breaks. And Ronon knows that, and he … don't you understand? I had to. I had to, he … he …."
"What the hell did he do to you, McKay?" John growled. It had better be at least the loss of a finger to justify this.
Rodney flinched. "He … he took the coffee hostage."
John stared at him. "He what."
"The coffee! The coffee, Sheppard! I can't live like that, I can't!" Rodney's eyes were wild.
"So you get more from the kitchens. And we get restocked from Earth. The hell, McKay —"
"Not for weeks! And when I say 'the coffee', I mean all of it. Everywhere in the city! The Daedalus just left, they won't be back for weeks! Ronon's like a ninja, you know that, we'll never find it before I die of withdrawal, and even if that doesn't kill me, my department will! We have more civilians than military, and most of them live on coffee, and even some of your grunts do. He said he'd blame me for making it disappear! They'll roast me alive to extract what little caffeine remains in my veins! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, but we have to watch this and we have to do it right now before the rest of the city tracks us down!" Rodney gasped a couple of deep breaths. "Besides, this is all your fault, so if I go down I'm taking you with me. Why the hell did you bet against Ronon?"
"Because you told me Wuerthner was an English major for her undergrad!"
"Yes, I did, which you should know by now means that her undergrad years were even more of a waste than that idiotic 'anthropology' 'degree' she waves around!" McKay made actual air quotes for both words. "That was in no way me telling you to bet against Ronon in a poetry slam, you moron!"
"How was I supposed to know he's good at that?" John demanded.
"You're kidding me, right? I know you have to be kidding, because there's no way you're telling me that I pay more attention to what people say about their pasts than you do. Fundamentals, Sheppard! Land wars in Asia, Sicilians when death is on the line, and Satedan battle legendeers." Rodney turned to Ronon. "You know what? I take it back. If he's this stupid, he deserves it. Go ahead."
John almost whimpered. "McKay, no, you can't mean that." Rodney just crossed his arms defiantly, so John turned to the only other person in the room who might help him. "Teyla?"
Her smile was cold. "As Rodney says, if you had listened to Ronon, you would know of his skills with the spoken legends of his squad. And if you had listened to me," she added, her tone icing over, "you would have remembered how much my people value the recitation of sacred tales, which might have inspired you to hold your tongue rather than mocking the event to me."
John was screwed. Completely screwed. He dropped his butt into his seat and his head into his hands.
After several seconds in which John could hear Ronon setting up the DVD, he felt a hand awkwardly patting his shoulder. "Try to look at it as immersion therapy," Rodney offered weakly.
"You realize I'll get you for this, don't you?" John murmured through his hands.
"You wouldn't dare," Rodney answered, sounding almost sure of that. "You think Stephen King has a scary clown? I promise you, I can find much scarier ones. I already have at least two." When John looked up to glare at him, he smirked and said quietly, "Did you seriously think I don't stockpile ammunition, even against you, just in case? Or that I would just hand him my biggest weapon? This is why I keep reminding you I'm a genius — either you don't listen to any of us, or you just don't remember." He glared over at Ronon. "If he hadn't blindsided me with that coffee thing, we wouldn't even be here," he added in a dangerous mutter.
Teyla took the seat at an angle to his corner chair. "Do not fear, John, we will protect you if you grow too frightened," she cooed, as if he was Torren. She was evil.
John slumped, resigned to his fate but planning. When this was over, and once the nightmares had faded, he would track down whoever had smuggled Stephen King's IT past his safeguards and into the city. He would track them down … and he would make them pay.