Dedicated to Kath, karenbear and crysothemis, with gratitude. You are entitled to a refund if goods are returned within seven days. A replacement ficlet can be delivered by tomorrow.
Thanks: belated *OMGWTFALZHEIMER?* English-beta by wychwood.
Note: This picture and Kath’s comments caused the following, which neither the recipient(s) nor the writer ever seriously intended, but the writer felt compelled to finish, see Rodneo+Johliet and similar projects. The writer was also annoyed at self for not being able (?) to fabulate around the images of the impressive bobbing … baguette and how R noticed it during their tussle, or the long lolling tongue and the shoes J retained, Hulk-like, on his little. I realise I just can’t see him that way, in any shape *always learning*
I don’t have to say that it’s JS/RM, do I?
SheppaurusYounger readers need to be accompanied by an adult.
Features illustrations and sound effects.
The thick vegetation surrounding the gate had made it impossible for the team to fly in via the jumper, or to see anything above the tree-tops but a lone volcano in the distance while they walked through the forest.
There might have been the usual griping, teasing and eye-rolling going on, but the temperature was comfortable and the going easy, which lulled them all enough to be surprised when the ground dropped away beneath John’s feet, taking him with it.
Aiden started tearing up the underbrush right away, ready to dive after the Major, while Teyla searched the periphery for a safer path. They found John soon enough, but after having slipped down a treacherous mud bank and ended up with a mouthful of brackish water in a half-hidden stream, John decided his team had better split up to cover more area in less time.
Rodney and Aiden followed a trail towards the volcano that lazily belched out dark red lava, while John and Teyla used a second handheld to search for something worthwhile in the opposite direction.
The volcano made a nice backdrop for the herd of grazing dinosaurs they discovered an hour later.
“No, Ford, we’re not going to take a closer look. Remember Jurassic Park! Ok, forget that one, but we’re not. Those beasts won’t be a viable source of energy for the next few millennia.”
Aiden definitely pouted but followed their original route, until the animals grabbed his attention again.
“McKay, look, don’t you think that little one looks interesting? It seems a bit brighter, definitely different from the rest of its herd. Oh-oh, and the big bull doesn’t like that, it seems.”
They might not be dragons and they might be dangerous, but the prehistoric animals were still fascinating enough (and far enough away) even for a wild-life hater like Rodney to get interested in.
“They only look “little” from the distance, Ford, and “bright” is not a word that –“
“What’s the little fellow doing now? Is it trying to placate the large one?”
“It looks like … no, it can’t be trying to negotiate reasonably, those beasts need two brains just to not fall over. They should rip each other's throats out with their jaws, I think.”
“But look, it’s holding something in its hands – paws? It’s trying to defend itself! We should help it.”
“Ford, seriously, what are you, a marine or a … Mary Poppins? Those are dinosaurs, huge and ultimately-incapable-of-survival animals, good for nothing but bad movies. That reptile can look after itself.”
“McKay. It’s looking at us!”
And indeed, the smaller animal had turned its head towards them and now opened its eyes – and mouth – wide.
It might be a vegetarian, but Rodney had learned in the face of danger to run first and think later.
He was the first back in the dense forest and didn’t stop running until he crashed into Teyla.
She seemed uncharacteristically out of breath and took his away when her first words were, “Dr. McKay, have you seen Major Sheppard?”
“What, no, where is he! He never gets lost, he can’t be!”
“I don’t know where he went. We found nothing but a primitive looking stone circle. Since it emitted some power signatures, Major Sheppard searched it while I scanned the perimeter. When I heard loud noises in the forest, I followed them to make sure there was no danger, but when I returned to the stone circle, Major Sheppard had disappeared.”
She took another breath and admitted, “Since then, I've neither seen nor heard a sign of him. I couldn’t find any human trails leading away from that site and had been hoping he made his way back here …”
Rodney was already busy fiddling and recalibrating their scanners, but without success. Getting desperate, he nearly smashed his gadgets for not only not warning them of traps, but also claiming there were only three human life-signs in the area now.
It was such a deceptively peaceful planet. Usually, if they weren’t plagued by Genii or Wraith, it was killer-bugs or mudslides, but they hadn’t even seen any spiders on this planet. All was quiet except for Rodney’s occasional swearing. The sun kept shining down gently through the canopy of the trees, an occasional pterodactyl throwing a shadow over them, ferns rustling in the soft breeze.
The tranquil forest scene was disrupted by loud crashing noises and small creatures escaping in flight.
A large green animal ran full speed at them, overlooking a heavy branch in the grass. It tripped, fell and ended up sliding on its belly towards the startled humans.
Teyla and Aiden had their weapons raised.
Rodney had only raised his eyebrows. “Guys. I might be suffering from a hypoglycaemic shock, but for a moment I thought that was Sheppard.”
The large head was lifted off the floor, but the dinosaur made no move to get up again – it made no move at all. Its tail flopped once in agitation, then lay still like the rest of it, while the small shining eyes watched them, looking pointedly at their weapons.
“Is that hair? Look at those spikey things along his head and down his back, all black and different sizes...”
As if to confirm Rodney’s words, the dinosaur managed a highly familiar side-ways head-tilt, then glared at them in wordless frustration.
“Major, is that really you?” Teyla took a few cautious steps towards the creature, which slowly got from the ground with something as close to a sigh as a reptile could produce.
“Why aren’t you speaking? Can you speak? Can you understand us? Sure you can – hey, did you see,” Rodney beamed. “He just rolled his eyes at me!”
This, coincidentally, was also what Aiden did at Rodney’s last remark, before walking over to Teyla and their transformed team leader.
Rodney followed them, but stopped a sensibly cautious step behind their trained warrior backs.
Close up they could see that John was still wearing a few remnants of his clothing, even though they were in shreds. If John had brows he'd probably have waggled them at this point; he still looked as friendly as was possible for a possibly-carnivorous, usually-extinct animal that could maim them with its jaws. Instead John started waving his little arms, which still held the P-90.
They quickly ducked.
“Trust him not to let go of that,” mumbled Rodney from a safe position. “Although you can always recognise him by his skinny ankles.”
Teyla and Aiden turned to him as one.
“What? He doesn’t wear socks, we’ve all seen his ankles! Come on, you must have noticed. It’s … distracting …”
As Rodney’s voice petered out, they turned back to the large green major in the grass, who’d been watching them with an odd look.
“You’re embarrassed!” Gleefully puncturing the air, Rodney grinned at the others. “He’s embarrassed. Hah.”
Despite Teyla’s admonishing looks, Aiden chuckled and Rodney kept teasing the decidedly unthreatening dinosaur, their relief at having John back obvious.
“Can reptiles even make sounds? They always roar on screen but I can’t remember crocodiles doing that. Come on, Major, I know you’re not loquacious but give us some help here!”
John opened his mouth as if to speak, and emitted a low guttural sound between a squawk and a purr.
Rodney cracked up.
John glared at him, then swivelled his large head towards his lieutenant, who successfully maintained a straight face while being glared at by his scaly boss until he was saved by Rodney’s unbridled amusement.
“You sound like a little lion … or a big cat mating with a bullfrog. No, Major, no, you wouldn’t hurt me, now, would you?”
John had started to chase Rodney, who pretended to run away (as if he were a match for human-John on a normal day; for a given value of normal) but immediately doubled over with laughter at the sight of the dinosaur’s lolling tongue and the long tail pointing straight behind him when running.
“Where’s a camera when a scientist needs one. Get off, off, no biting your team mates!”
“Dr. McKay! We will have to turn him back. We cannot bring the major back to Atlantis in this form.” Teyla’s stern tone finally got her their attention, and Rodney reluctantly disentangled himself from his suddenly much more accessible colleague.
“Got any suggestions? Did you perhaps notice a cardboard box with the words Transmogrifier written on its sides? With a put-upon sigh, Rodney stood up, brushed ineffectually at some new stains on his uniform and cast a last wistful glance at the large shape lying in the grass. “Oh, never mind; let’s go have a look at Stonehenge then.”
Of course the whole prehistoric planet turned out to be just another “brilliant” idea of the Ancients, making Rodney feel less and less happy at the idea of being descended from them. Anyone imbibing any local substances on Planet Saurus and going through their “magic” portal (it was beneath Rodney’s dignity to research a machine that turned humans into dinosaurs, though he made some D&D fans in his team get onto it) would be turned into the largest possible prehistoric animal, so as to be both uninteresting to and capable of defending itself against the Wraith.
It made him wonder why a number of people obviously preferred this option to ascending.
“Well, glad that’s over.” Rodney watched the properly flesh-coloured and dark-haired shape come out of their re-engineered “Transmogrifier” with satisfaction. John raised an eyebrow, at which Rodney belatedly handed him a gown to slip into.
“I’ve got to admit, Major, you were a bit too brainy for a dinosaur.”
“Thank you, Rodney, I’m touched.”
“The Major was an impressive, yet friendly dinosaur.” Teyla obviously felt she had to save the major’s honour, which made Elizabeth smile at her.
“Hah, more than friendly. I never knew a dinosaur could be flirty, but there he was, same as ever.”
“Major Sheppard never struck me as flirty in any way, Dr. McKay.”
“Seriously? Never? But … but you are a wo- … a … a warrior. Which … which might explain that I … that you ...”
Smiling at the sight of his flustered colleague, Radek leaned sideways and confided to John, “Had to turn you back quickly. They could not agree on good name for you.”
Aiden grinned. “Of course Rodney-saurus has a much better ring to it, and McKay has the proper temperament to go with it, too, so maybe we could go back and -”
Before a blustering Rodney found his voice and proved him right in the process, John grabbed hold of one of Rodney’s flailing arms and gently dragged him away. “Don’t harm the nice team mates,” could be heard as they disappeared down the corridor.
ETA: now with tailor-made illustration by crysothemis.
ETA2: um, and me (same thread).