Disclaimer: Stargate is copyright MGM, Stargate: Atlantis was created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Notes: You said you wanted something gen, so I wrote Christmas!fic. Hope you like it! Set sometime in early Season 3.
Summary: Christmas comes to the Pegasus Galaxy.
The shield flashes into visibility as John steps into the control room.
"Unscheduled offworld activation!" Chuck says, then, a moment later, "Receiving Earth's IDC!"
"Lower the shield," Elizabeth says.
John's sure he's not the only one wondering what's going on. Even if they have the Gate Bridge, supplies are still mostly delivered via the Daedalus. And there are no messages or new personnel coming from Earth.
What comes through the Gate has them all gaping. It's a huge pine tree, at least eight feet tall, with no explanation.
Elizabeth stares a moment, then asks, "Chuck, what's the current date on Earth?"
Chuck checks a readout and says "December third, Commander."
"Well," Elizabeth says dryly. "Looks like they sent us a Christmas tree."
It's not just a Christmas tree, it turns out. When the Daedalus shows up a few days later, it has a tarp and stand for the tree, as well as flash drives of Christmas music, packets of cider and hot cocoa mix, and some menorahs and candles.
The bulk of the cargo bay, though, is stuffed with what turns out to be several of the non-priority items each of the personnel of Atlantis had asked for over the past year.
It takes awhile to see to the distribution of everything. Chuck and Amelia make sure everyone gets some cider and hot cocoa mix, the menorahs and candles are distributed to the Jewish personnel, and the tree is set up in the middle of the control room, with the boxes of decorations set against the wall.
It's Elizabeth who has the idea that crew members should pick a few gifts to give to their friends, rather than take the things for themselves, but, but evidently someone else thought of that too, because there's wrapping paper, scissors and tape in with the items ordered.
John picks up things for Rodney, Elizabeth and Carson. Even Teyla had apparently ordered some candles, meditation music and a pair of bokken. He takes one of the CDs for her.
Most of Atlantis is suddenly anticipating what most of them had forgotten about. People start organizing groups for caroling in the corridors, and Sheppard makes sure to have some cider or cocoa ready for them. He gets treated to "Silent Night" in English, German, and what he thinks is Russian, based on the flag-patches of the carolers.
Rodney, of course, is immune to the holiday spirit infecting the city, and comes to Sheppard's room at night to complain about how his team is even more useless than usual.
"I caught Hayashi trying to put up mistletoe today!" Rodney sputters indignantly, closing his eyes in pleasure as he sips his cider. If he's conscious of the irony, he doesn't show it.
Sheppard smiles to himself. He'd only met Hayashi once, but it was obvious that she was polite, self-effacing, and completely enthralled with Rodney. "She's still hoping, huh?"
"What?" Rodney looks baffled.
"Nothing." He changes the subject. "So did you pick out the gifts you're giving to people?"
"What?" McKay says again, then, "Uh, yeah. I got gifts for Elizabeth, Zelenka, Teyla...one for you of course." John bows mockingly.
"Ronon didn't request anything," John says, remembering.
Rodney waves dismissively. "Get him a new gun, or kill an animal and let him eat it or something."
"He's not a caveman, Rodney!"
Rodney ignores him.
On Christmas Eve they decorate the tree. John's explained the custom to Teyla, and she's currently methodically strewing tinsel on the branches, trying to cover the whole tree evenly.
The lights had, somehow, gotten tangled in transit. Rodney and Zelenka were trying to unknot them, and it was getting loud, arguing covering the strains of "Carol of the Bells."
"Not like that! Don't you know anything?!" Rodney demands, snatching a string of lights from Zelenka's fingers. Zelenka's muttering has long since become full-scale grumbling. John can't understand a word, but he has a feeling that it's aspersions on Rodney's parentage.
John's too busy putting candy canes on the tree to pay much attention, though. It's a good thing those had been packed away, or they'd have been eaten by now.
Carson and Chuck are hanging different colored glass balls on the other side from him, and Elizabeth is fastening fabric bows to the ends of the branches.
Rodney and Zelenka finally get the lights straightened out.
"Who's going to put them on?" Zelenka asks.
"I should," Rodney says promptly.
"Oh? And why is that?"
Rather than taking offense like John expects, Zelenka replies mildly, and somewhat smugly, "If it's a case of height, Ronon should do it."
"Do what?" Ronon asks. He's been standing off to the side, watching the entire thing with bemusement.
"Drape the lights around the tree," John explains.
Ronon does, knocking a candy cane and some tinsel off in the process.
"We should have put the lights on first," John realizes.
"Oh, really?" Rodney replies, obviously still irritated. "Since when were you an expert at decorating trees, Commander?"
Sheppard ignores him.
Putting the star on top falls to Ronon too, then they're done.
Rodney must have rewired one of the naquadah generators, because it doesn't short out the lights. Thankfully, none of the bulbs are burnt out, since that would cause another argument between McKay and Zelenka about exactly which bulb is the culprit.
They all take a moment to look at the decorated tree, then Sheppard gets his gifts from the corner and puts them under the tree. Carson. Elizabeth and Chuck follow suit. Rodney and Zelenka disappear for about ten minutes and come back with their own presents.
"So what do you think?" Sheppard asks Teyla.
"It's lovely," she replies. "And this is a tradition on Earth?"
"Parts of it, yeah."
"The Athosians have a midwinter festival, but nothing like this."
"I'm glad you got to see it," Sheppard says, smiling at her.
The next day it's time to open presents. They do it in shifts, since they can't fit all the personnel in the Control Room at once. John's team is in the first shift-Rank Hath Its Privileges. Carson and Elizabeth are there as well, and Zelenka's turned up, even though he's not on the list. No one has the heart to tell him to wait his turn.
There's Christmas music playing and they all have cups of cider or cocoa, depending on taste. John gleefully shreds the paper on his first gift-from Rodney-and grins at the remote control car. "Thanks!"
Rodney shrugs. "Whatever, it's not like I bought it. And I'm gonna want to use it too, you know."
"When I'm done with it."
Teyla, meanwhile, is carefully taking the paper off one of her gifts.
"Not like that," John says.
She looks at him quizzically.
"You 're supposed to tear off the paper."
"Should we not save it?"
John waves that off. "It's not like we're going to need it until next year."
She shrugs and tears off the paper, looking pleased at the candle she finds inside. "Thank you, Elizabeth."
"You're welcome, Teyla." Elizabeth smiles at her.
John looks back at Rodney, who looks as if someone just gave him a wedgie. "What's up with you?"
"I got a card from Jeannie."
"That's nice," John says cautiously.
"Yeah, but that's not the only card." Rodney hands the one he's been looking at to John, and he smothers a laugh.
In red crayon, scribbled across the top is "Mery Chrismas Uncle Яodney!"
"Yeah. I dunno why, I mean I only met her once!"
John shrugs. "Maybe it was Jeannie's idea."
"She wouldn't have called me Rodney."
John smirks, then shrugs again. "Anyway, it was sweet of her."
Everyone's pleased with their presents, which shouldn't be surprising, since they ordered them. Elizabeth got what she says are marigold seeds and a pot to plant them in, Carson's fiddling with a set of fishing tackle, and Zelenka's waxing poetic about his gifts.
"They'll make life so much easier. Once we figure out the proper way to connect them to the auxiliary manifold-"
Sheppard looks at the pile of wires and circuitry and decides not to ask.
"Hey," Ronon says, "thanks for the gloves."
John looks at him to see he's holding a pair of fingerless leather gloves. "Uh...you're welcome?"
"And thanks for the knife, Doc," he continues. "You can never have too many."
"What?" Rodney says, but John catches Teyla winking at them and nudges him. "Oh, yeah right, no problem."
The presents are pretty much unwrapped now, so after stuffing the wrapping paper in a trash bag they go back to their quarters to dump their loot and leave the tree for the next shift.