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Fic: Growing Pains (McKay/Sheppard, PG)

Title: Growing Pains
Author: frith_in_thorns
Recipient: propinquitine
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Stargate belongs to MGM etc, not me.
Notes: So I was tryig to write something much more serious than this, but it wouldn't stay that way. I just went with it in the end. I do hope that you find it at least acceptable! If not, I'll write you something better after Christmas. Promise.
Summary: "Sheppard, your plants are attempting to impregnate the Gate controls. I don't want to find little green wormholes skipping down the hallways any time soon."

***

Radek found Rodney pouring the remnants of the coffee jug into the clay dish on his desk, which currently contained a quantity of earth and a tiny green spike. "What are you doing?" he asked, with not a small amount of surprise.

"I've heard used coffee grounds are good for plants," Rodney said, in a slightly embarrassed sort of way. "It helps them grow."

Radek peered closer at the plant. It didn't appear to have changed at all in the days that it had been in Rodney's care. It had been a tiny green spike when he had first seen it, too. "Perhaps that is its natural size?" he suggested, carefully.

"Don't be ridiculous. What would be the point of something this size? Anyway, Sheppard's is growing."

"I noticed," Radek said dryly. It was getting rather hard not to notice that.

"Precisely," Rodney said, as if he had just succeeded in proving a major point. "And Teyla's. And Ronon's. Trust me to get the one that doesn't work properly."

"It is a plant, not a machine."

"I'm perfectly aware of that."

"And you should not be jealous of Colonel Sheppard. I am sure he would give you one of the offshoots of his plant, if you ask."

Rodney glared, and ostentatiously pressed some of the coffee grounds closer to the pitifully sized stem with his thumb. "He says his grows because it likes his guitar. I bet he's playing his guitar to it right now."

And Radek realised something. "You aren't jealous of the colonel because his plant is growing, are you? You are jealous of the plant!"

Rodney's glare deepened, and he grabbed the pot and bustled out of the room.

-

It started when they were given plants by the locals on P3N-479, as thanks for Rodney fixing their irrigation pump. They weren't really anything special to look at, just four tiny green shoots protruding from four earth-filled clay dishes.

At first, anyway.

-

With Woolsey currently attending a 'briefing summit' - whatever the hell that was - on Earth, John was temporarily in command of Atlantis. That was the only reason why nothing had been done yet to eradicate John's increasingly-out-of-control-and-growing family of weeds. They seemed to be able to grow on no sort of substrate at all from tiny airborne seeds. Rodney made a point of stepping on the two he encountered in the corridor, while holding his plant pot up in the air, well away from their potentially corrupting influence.

John's quarters were full of them. Rodney refused to let his own pot get within several feet of the door, let alone inside. It spent its nights alone in his own room, with the door firmly shut. If it had been possible, he would have hermetically sealed it in.

It was terribly unfair that John's mutant green-blue plant things were well on their way to taking over the city, and his wouldn't even come up with one single tiny leaf or bud. Not that he would want his to behave in such an uncivilised way, of course. He'd like it to be like Teyla's, with the slender leaves with their silvery sheen, and the tiny pink flowers nestled in clusters. He'd even settle for the rather spiky thing that Ronon had.

When he reached the Gateroom, he wasn't altogether surprised to see a couple of broad bluish leaves peeking out from behind a console. "How long has that thing been growing there?" he demanded.

Chuck's eyes were immediately drawn to the clay pot, and Rodney felt his cheeks redden slightly. So maybe it wasn't entirely befitting for the head of science to be carrying a stubborn bit of native scenery around with him all day, but what else was he supposed to do with the thing? He was determined that Sheppard's vegetable army wasn't going to get at it.

Speaking of which... "I only got on shift an hour ago," Chuck told him. "It was there then."

Wide flowers were pressed in a somewhat lascivious way against the buttons on the console. Rodney glared at them, and then tapped his headset. "Sheppard, your plants are attempting to impregnate the Gate controls. I don't want to find little green wormholes skipping down the hallways any time soon."

John's reply came after a slight pause. "McKay, there's nothing I can do!"

"You need to learn to control it!"

"McKay, it's a plant! I know you can buy books to teach you how to train a dog, but I think this is a slightly different situation."

Rodney huffed, and noticed that Chuck was unsuccessfully trying to smother a grin. "Well, you'd better come up with something very soon. I'm fed up with this."

-

The plants had gone straight to the botanists, so that they could check that they were safe. Rodney had been very, very insistent on that point, citing so many Earth species which could kill you if you just touched them that even John had started anxiously examining the skin n his fingertips when he thought that Rodney wouldn't notice.

As far as Rodney was concerned at that point, the botanists could keep the plants. They weren't interesting, in the way that technology was. They wouldn't light up and whistle when you touched them, no matter what genes you had. They just sat there. And were green.

Then Teyla had removed hers to her quarters, and for some reason Ronon and John had copied her. Well, Rodney wasn't going to be left out. If the rest of his team could grow useless things in pots, then so could he.

Except, apparently, he couldn't. His stubbornly refused to do anything at all. He had even got Parrish to do a tiny biopsy of it, to confirm that it actually was alive, and not just some imitation.

Apparently it had past the 'life' test. Not that he was convinced.

-

"You aren't still carrying it around?" John asked him at lunch, slightly incredulously. They were sitting next to each other, and the plant was on the other side of the table, as far away from John as was possible. "And I'm not going to kill it, you know. Since I seem to have greener fingers than you do, you may as well stop pretending that my proximity is fatal."

"Who's to say it isn't?" Rodney snarked. He narrowed his eyes at the lettuce on his tray. That had managed to grow.

"So you want to be spending less time in proximity to me?" He faked a hurt expression.

Rodney rolled his eyes. "I don't know if you're looking for sympathy or attention, but it's lost on me either way. I'm carrying my plant around because I'm afraid of what your weeds will do to it."

"They aren't weeds!"

Silently, Rodney pointed to the floor beneath one of the serving tables. Sure enough, there was the tell-tale splash of colour, marking yet another staked-out claim.

"Alright, so maybe they have a couple of weed-like characteristics."

"Yes, excessive reproduction, ugliness..."

"I like them!"

"No, you've developed Stockholm syndrome. I sleep in your quarters, remember? They're everywhere. Soon they'll be making ransom demands."

Teyla and Ronon, carrying their own food trays, dropped into the seats across the table. Ronon moved the clay pot out of the way first, and raised his eyebrows, grinning.

"How's your plant?" Teyla asked.

Rodney felt himself flush, again. "I don't see why everyone thinks that me having a plant is so amusing."

Ronon laughed. "It's because you don't treat it as a plant. It's your pet."

"It's not a pet!" Rodney protested.

"Has it got a name?" John asked.

"No, of course it hasn't got a name! It's a plant."

Teyla pulled the pot towards her. "It smells of coffee," she said, sounding slightly puzzled.

John grinned evilly. "McKay," he said, speaking very slowly and clearly. "Plants don't drink coffee."

"I know that! It was to see if it would help it grow!"

Teyla coughed with her hand over her mouth. Rodney stared at her suspiciously, but couldn't tell whether or not it was genuine. "Why don't you bring it to my quarters?" she suggested. "I have a mixture of composted herbs from Athos which I have been giving to my flowers. They may help yours, too."

Rodney shrugged. "Ok."

-

He was the one who had been the first to notice the world-domination tendencies. In fact, he had woken up in the middle of the night to find leaves against his hand which had definitely not been there before.

"John! Your plant's trying to attack me!"

"No, it isn't," came the sleepy reply. "Shut up."

"It is!"

John had completely failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation, even when Rodney had turned the lights on and made him look at the mutant vegetation that had grown at completely implausible speeds. He had simply turned them off again, Atlantis proving once again who was and would always be the favourite.

Still, Rodney was nothing if not fair. Clearly John had simply been overtired, possibly as a result of exertion. In the morning he would, of course, see the full threat apparent in the situation.

He didn't. He found it funny.

-

To Rodney's surprise, John and Ronon were in Teyla's quarters too when he turned up, having finished work in the labs for the day. He had just made the mistake of asking Miko whether his plant seemed like a pet to her, and so was now carrying it at arm's length, in an Oh, am I holding something? I really hadn't noticed, it's just happenstance sort of way.

"What's this?" he asked. "Gardiner's club of the Pegasus galaxy?"

Teyla's silvery-pink flowers were even more tall and even more elegant than they had been when he had last seen them, and he shot them a jealous look.

"I had an idea," she said.

"Oh?" He passed the pot into her outstretched hand, and turned to John. "You do know that Woolsey's coming back tomorrow? We can finally get rid of your weed infestation."

"You love them really, admit it."

"No, I really don't." And then, suddenly noticing Teyla - "Hey!"

She didn't stop what she was doing, which was pressing down displaced earth around one of John's seedlings. In his pot.

"We haven't tried this yet," Ronon said. "Something has to make yours grow."

"But I've been keeping it away from those ugly things!" He paused after the words left his mouth. He suddenly wondered if John had been actually offended, rather than just joking.

Teyla nodded. "But our gifts were all specific to us, and apparently there were reasons behind the choices. I thought this might be worth a try."

"So it's supposed to spontaneously burst into bloom or something?"

"Why not?" John asked. "We've seen stranger things."

Ronon grinned slyly. "Anyway, we've got a movie for while we wait and see. Parrish gave it to me."

A look of trepidation crossed John's face. "It's going to be Day of the Triffids, isn't it?"

"Yep."

"Can't we watch something which has, you know, effects which are even resembling.g special?"

"I think it's a great choice." Rodney opened the laptop which had been sitting on one of the tables.

"You would," John mumbled. He looked at Ronon suddenly. "Where's your gift-plant, anyway? You didn't bring it to the party."

"Nah, it's dead. Forgot to water it."

Rodney scooted back so that he was leaning against the bed to watch the movie, the solid warmth of John against his side as the other two also shuffled into nearby places to get a good view.

"I'm sorry I kept my plant safe from you," he whispered.

"No problem," John whispered back. "It was probably a good idea."

Disregarded on the floor, the tiny spike of green began to bud.

Comments

( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
ed263
Dec. 24th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
LOL!! That was just too cute!!

"Sheppard, your plants are attempting to impregnate the Gate controls. I don't want to find little green wormholes skipping down the hallways any time soon." - LOL! I can just see those wormholes skipping down hallways! Well done!

Love how Teyla was able to figure out what Rodney's plant needed...a little bit of John's plant! Just like Rodney, his plant thrived when it came into contact with John's.

Very much enjoyed reading this story! Thanks! ^_^
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
I do not know what I was thinking when I wrote this :P But it was fun, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it! :)
korilian
Dec. 24th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Plants are awesome. Rodney was a fool not to marry that botanist. At least John has green fingers.
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Plants are indeed very awesome. (Didn't like Katie Brown much, though.)
aqualegia
Dec. 24th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
I loved that John's plant was running wild and Teyla knew how to make Rodney's plant grow.

LOL!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
goddess47
Dec. 24th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
::snorfle::

Of course the aliens give them plants that resemble themselves...... such fun!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
Glad that you enjoyed it! :)
dossier
Dec. 24th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
All I could think of was FEED ME SEYMOUR... clearly you have far more restraint than I!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Sadly I don't think I know the reference... but I'm glad you liked this!
dossier
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
heh. Little Shop of Horrors, in particular the 1986 musical version with Rick Moranis as the hapless Seymour, Steve Martin as the sadomasochistic dentist, and Ellen Greene as the lovely, squeaky Audrey. Short version: alien plants land on earth, and Audrey II has some rather peculiar dietary needs. I find it utterly hilarious.
gottalovev
Dec. 25th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
d'awww, that is sweet! I can totally see Rodney, overprotective of his tiny plant =D
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
michelel72
Dec. 25th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Little green wormholes, hee! But poor Ronon's plant!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
This is without doubt the randomest thing I've ever written :P I was originally going to have Ronon's plant drop exploding seeds, but couldn't find where to work it in...
cepaea
Dec. 25th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Hahaha the plants were wonderful! I loved the image of Rodney carrying his plant everywhere, too funny!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had a lot of fun writing this! :)
propinquitine
Dec. 25th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
Awww! What a delightful gift, Santa! I love how you gradually reveal that John and Rodney are together, and the team dynamic is so warm and lovely. The idea that all of this is happening while Woolsey is away is also making me grin -- I can just picture his expression when he gets back and sees what he has to deal with. :-) Thank you so much for this!

Eeek! Sorry for the deletion, there! I had a(n eggnog-fueled) moment of "Oh noes, anonymous!fail!" panic, and then remembered (too late) that I don't, in fact, need to be anonymous when making thank-yous for my own gift. D'oh!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
This was intended to be a serious story, but then it got decidedly out of control, hence my rather worried note at the top! I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to write! :D
moon_destiny
Dec. 25th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Awww, this is adorable. ^^; I love the idea of them getting plants that resemble them, very ingenious.
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
lilyfarfalla
Dec. 26th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
Oh, this is ridiculously adorable. I love how Rodney gets all competitive and protective of his little plant (which sleeps all alone! of course it isn't growing, poor thing), and how Teyla's is lovely and elegant and John's starts growing everywhere. Just lovely.
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was great fun to write, too :)
(Deleted comment)
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :D
springwoof
Dec. 28th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
awww! absolutely adorable! all RodneyPlant needed was a little bit of JohnPlant love....
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
See, I'd meant to write something serious, and then the McShep plants came into my head, and I had to write this! Glad you liked :)
chkc
Dec. 29th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
Eee, adorableness! I love that Rodney is so grouchy and pretending not to care about the plants, while nursing his little plant shoot as much as he can. Maybe John's plant is growing all over the place in search of Rodney's plant? :D I admit that at first I thought that these plants are some sort of metaphor for each of the team's hair. (John's plant grows out of control, Teyla's is perfect and pretty, while Rodney's... doesn't grow very much.) But, since Ronon's plant died, this is probably not the case. :)
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
John's plant was definitely searching for Rodney's plant! :D The plants were supposed to go with their personalities a bit - I hadn't thought about them representing their hair, but that could work! Ronon's was originally meant to drop exploding seeds, but it made the story too cluttered, so I went for him being not really bothered about it instead. But then, Ronon wears a skull in his hair, which represents death...

Edited at 2010-01-01 11:30 pm (UTC)
deliranteverse
Dec. 30th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
....for some reason, I kept thinking....tentacle!fic because of the plant. Oh, how dirty my mind is.


Anyways, I loved your fic <3
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
*snorfles*

I'm glad you liked it! :D
hickman1937
Dec. 30th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
So McKay ended up sleeping with a closet botanist? This is just. Thanks for the story. I laughed.
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
Yep, he did :P I'm glad you laughed, I gave up on sense for this story and just went for humour/crack ;)
danceswithgary
Jan. 2nd, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Cute!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 6th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Thank you!
ozsaur
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
LOL Very cute!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 6th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Thanks! :D
blackchaps
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
This made me smile - thank you!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
I'm very happy to hear that! Thanks for commenting! :)
runpunkrun
Jan. 10th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)
This is sweet. Rodney is totally treating his plant like a pet, taking it everywhere, fussing over it.

Also this is pretty awesome: Wide flowers were pressed in a somewhat lascivious way against the buttons on the console.

Sheppard's plant is groping Atlantis!
frith_in_thorns
Jan. 10th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
It is, indeed :P

I'm glad you enjoyed this! :)
sasha_and_rosa
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Wow, almost no peril!! What's happened to you?? I'm shocked :P It was a great story, very funny, and I liked it :D
frith_in_thorns
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
It was Christmas! I don't do peril at Christmas!!

Glad you liked it :D
starbuckssue
Dec. 28th, 2013 11:09 am (UTC)
Oh this was so cute, I loved that the little plant came into bud right at the end. John's did make me laugh though, trying to take over Atlantis!
( 43 comments — Leave a comment )

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