Disclaimer: Stargate belongs to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., no infringements of any rights is intended.
Spoilers: There is an oblique reference to Tao of Rodney and spoilers for Outcast.
Prompt for the Round: The story must take place during a holiday, from Earth or not. Only the team is allowed to appear.
Smells assaulted him as soon as he stepped through the gate. Baked grains and roasted meats were some of the items he could detect intermingled with the salty tang of the nearby ocean. The frothing blue waves were just visible between surrounding tropical greenery.
"What kind of festival did you say this was?" John spoke in Teyla's direction as he took it all in. He was pretty sure he would have remembered any ceremony that involved a place that made him wish he'd brought his board.
"It is a blend of the rituals of both the Athosian and the Kojani people." Rodney piped up from behind them.
Huh? John threw the scientist an odd look. Rodney grinned back, obviously pleased with the minimal information he'd imparted.
"A simple welcoming ceremony for a simple and welcoming people." Ronon put in his two cents. "It is held every year while the alani blooms." He gestured toward a random white blossom.
"Actually, that is the alani." Teyla redirected their gazes to some spiky trees with blue blossoms and red fruit.
"Oh. Right." Ronon pointed in the new direction with a smirk.
Something fishy was going on here. John turned to Teyla.
"Remain here." She moved off quickly and vanished into the trees.
"What's going on?" John spun on his remaining team mates. Both made comical attempts to school their features, succeeding in further raising John's suspicions. It wasn't his birthday. The only significant thing about the date was . . . . Realization dawned. It had been a year since . . . .
"No." John turned and headed back toward the DHD.
"Wait! What are you doing? What about the ceremony?" Rodney followed, Ronon on his heels. "The Kojani are expecting us. They even made non-citrus desserts."
John focused on dialing the seven symbols. "Then you stay. I'll send Lorne, or better yet, Woolsey."
"You should be here, Sheppard," Ronon said quietly, his tone conveying something more than the simple words.
John hesitated, his hand extended over the final control. He looked up at the big guy from the corner of his eye and caught sight of Teyla approaching with a tray laden with cups.
"We are your family, John. We would not hurt you."
John let his hand drop to his side. "Guys . . . this," he gestured broadly toward the tea tray, "isn't me. I—I don't do this. These things are personal. It's not my tradition."
"You don't like to surf?" Ronon asked.
"What?" John tracked the Satedan in confusion as he held some of the larger foliage aside and gestured out along the beach. A long colorful object was stuck in the sand. His board.
"Or to swim in the ocean?" Rodney asked, fumbling with his back pack. John recognized his own black and blue patterned trunks before McKay managed to wrest them from among two bottles of sun block.
"Or to establish new traditions with friends who remember that you have suffered a loss, and only wish to remind you that you are not alone?"
John shifted from one foot to the other, and looked between the three people closest to him in two galaxies. "What do I have to do?" he asked.
Teyla's features blossomed into a smile. "Simply drink with friends." She settled gracefully to the ground with the tray.
"And eat, lots of eating." Rodney plopped down beside her.
"And playing." Ronon added from his other side.
"I can do that." John moved forward and sat among his friends.
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