“This is stupid.” Rodney grimaced as he moved his splinted arm and tried to get more comfortable.
“No, it’s not. Come on, Rodney, work with me here.” Sheppard smiled past the fat lip he was wearing and dabbed at the cut on his forehead with a piece of gauze. “Look, we’ve got everything we need right here in the Jumper. We can’t deliver it to the mainland anyway so we might as well use it. Come on, Rodney, it’s Christmas.”
“I’m finding it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit when we’re in a crippled Jumper, god knows how many light years from Atlantis,” Rodney groused. “Oh all right, as long as it involves the ingestion of food, I guess we might as well. I mean we have to eat anyway, right?”
“That’s right,” Sheppard agreed, turning around to pull things out of the storage locker. “Before we start, how’s your arm? Do you need more Tylenol?”
“I need morphine,” Rodney muttered with ill-concealed bad grace but then he sighed and shrugged, wincing as the movement sent pain skittering along his nerve endings. “No, unless you want to overdose me. I just took some, remember?”
“Right, I forgot, sorry.” John turned back from the locker, a small, fluffy brown teddy bear held aloft in one hand. “Who’s this for?”
“Torren. I was going to give it to him on Saturday when Teyla came back to Atlantis but then she said she was staying on the mainland longer so I tossed it in there.”
“You are a platinum card carrying softie when it comes to that kid,” Sheppard said teasingly.
“Yeah, well, he grows on you,” Rodney replied defensively. “He likes me. Hard not to like someone who likes you.”
Sheppard narrowed his eyes. “You’re just undercover as a prickly, snarky astrophyscist, aren’t you? You’re really good ole Uncle Rodney with a heart of gold.”
Rodney settled back more comfortably as the Tylenol finally began to take effect, diminishing the agony that his arm had become.
“Tylenol’s kicking in, huh?” Sheppard said with a knowing smile. “I know it’s probably still painful as hell but at least the meds took the edge off, right?”
“Yes, yes, you’re right, as usual.” Rodney straightened suddenly and gave a huge sneeze, yelping as the pain ignited fiery trails down his arm again. “What the hell have you got in there? I’m allergic to lots of things, you know? There’d better not be citrus scented anything-“
“Relax, Rodney, there’s nothing in here that’ll send you into anaphylactic shock. The Christmas tree’s just a little dusty.” Sheppard wiped his own nose with the gauze he’d been holding then tossed it aside.
“You’ve got a Christmas tree in there? How the hell did you get one to fit in there?” Rodney’s eyebrows flew upwards and pain seemingly forgotten, he scooted forward and around till he was sitting next to Sheppard.
“Of course I have. A regular-sized Christmas tree. And if you believe that, I might as well tell you I have a carnival-sized carousel as well.” Sheppard turned and showed Rodney the six inch high fake tree he held in his hand.
“Oh,” Rodney replied disappointedly. “That’s not exactly a Christmas tree.”
“Sure it is.” Sheppard frowned at the tree. “Well, okay maybe its size doesn’t exactly approach the massive Christmas trees you probably had in your childhood but it’s still a Christmas tree.”
“We didn’t do trees,” Rodney said abruptly, moving his arm to a more comfortable or at least less painful position. “We didn’t really do Christmas. And no, we’re not Jewish though I guess the surname gives that away. My parents just felt it was important for Jeannie and me not to have false expectations from an early age.”
“Wow,” Sheppard said. “I’m sorry.”
Rodney shrugged. “Can’t miss what you never had. So, what else is in there? Are we at the food part yet?”
Sheppard picked up a small woolly toy lamb and pressed its belly, grinning as it made a sound that almost resembled a bleat. “For Torren. Bought it when I was home on leave last month.”
“Sounds constipated,” Rodney observed ascerbically.
“Hey, I have it on good authority that Torren is waiting with anticipation for my gift,” Sheppard replied. “Teyla even showed him pictures of lambs on the computer when I told her what I’d bought.”
“Aha!” Rodney leaned forward and grabbed a fork from the locker. “Utensils! Must be food nearby.”
“Slow down, McKay. I’m getting to it.”
Rodney made a microphone out of his hands and bellowed through them. “I’m hungry! Can you spell hypoglycemia?”
“Of course I can, Rodney. I may be a math genius but I can spell. Do you know,” Sheppard sat back on his heels and Rodney sighed as the promise of forthcoming food seemed to evaporate before his very eyes, “I won a spelling bee in eighth grade. I was the only kid who spelled prestidigitation, percolation, and precipitation right.”
“Really, what was it, the Neanderthal spelling bee of America contest?” Rodney muttered as if he was paying attention even as he peered into the locker to try to see if there was anything remotely edible inside. “So what did you win?”
“Hey, I resemble that Neanderthal remark,” Sheppard said with a grin. “ I won fifty bucks. I wanted to put it towards a telescope but my dad made me go out and buy a leather wallet for him and some lipstick for my mom for Christmas.”
“You don’t talk about your family much,” Rodney observed. He reached into the box and pulled out an MRE, grinning gleefully as he held it aloft. “Turkey dinner!” he announced, grabbing a second one and handing it over to Sheppard.
“Not much to talk about,” Sheppard replied, his eyes getting that shuttered look that Rodney had learned meant not to push.
“Mine neither, well, apart from Jeannie,” he said, ripping the foil from the meal. “Hey, hand that fork back, will you?”
Sheppard grinned and handed over the fork. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone go into a palpitation of lust over an MRE before.” He opened his own meal and sat back. “So, rescue should be here in about two hours.” He held a turkey-laden fork aloft. “Merry Christmas, Rodney.”
Rodney sighed happily as he dug in. “Merry Christmas, John.”