Part One | Part Two
The words and numbers were just starting to blur together when someone cleared their throat, announcing their presence in the doorway. Rodney rubbed his eyes, willing the numbers on his watch to come back into focus. Oh, he'd been at it a while. Thoughts muzzy, he looked up to see a bemused Sheppard leaning in the doorway.
"Missed you at dinner."
"Dinner?" Rodney checked his watch again and winced. "Ah, looks like I did."
Sheppard shrugged, pulling an apple out from where he had been hiding it behind his back and held it up in the air. "Brought you this—although I did consider letting you starve after leaving me with that Christmas mess."
Rodney glowered, but managed—barely—to catch the apple when it was lightly tossed his way. Without a word, he tore off a chunk of the apple, feeling the juices dribble down his chin as he bit into the fruit.
Sheppard made a face, but chose to amble the rest of the way in rather than commenting. "But I think I have finally managed to convince Ronon that Santa Claus isn't a fat, kleptomaniacal pedophile. It wasn't easy, though."
Taking care to not choke as he swallowed the almost-too-big bite, Rodney shook his head. "I never claimed to be good at the explanation thing."
"Well, it might have helped if you had started with the fact that Santa Claus isn't real."
Rodney simply took another bite, smaller this time. "Knew I forgot something."
"Yeah," Sheppard said. "But hey, he's got Santa straight now."
Rodney eyed the other man suspiciously, not bothering to swallow the bite of food this time. "Does he?"
"Yep," Sheppard said brightly. A little too brightly.
"Oh, no, what did you do?"
"I did nothing."
"Uh huh." Rodney rolled his eyes. "Because you're the thoughtful type that loves to bring me food."
"Hey, I brought you a sandwich that one time."
"You mean the time that I was arms deep in an Ancient supercomputer trying to find a way out of the death trap that you activated? And also with the sandwich that I had packed for myself, and was in fact in my backpack only five feet away that I could have easily gotten up and grabbed myself had I not been trying to save us from impending doom?"
"See, you remember."
"What do you want?"
"Fine." Sheppard sighed, shoulders slumping. "I need your help."
"I figured as much," Rodney muttered around the mouthful of apple. "Hence my question."
Sheppard winced. "Geez, Rodney, didn't your mother ever teach you to chew with your mouth closed?"
Rodney might have been thirty-eight years-old, but the urge to stick his tongue out and display how much he cared about proper manners was very strong. A lesser man than him might have caved in to the temptation. A lesser man might also not have realized that Sheppard was trainable, and future delivered meals might still be wrangled if Rodney played his cards right.
"Sorry," he said with exaggerated sarcasm after he swallowed the mouthful. "Now, what was it you wanted?"
"Well," Sheppard said as he studied the oh-so-not-fascinating ceiling work in Rodney's lab, "Ronon may have gotten the unfortunate impression that on Earth we have a bad habit of nailing our socks to a fireplace every winter..."
"Uh, isn't that a little true?"
"Well, he, ah, might also think it has to do with children needing money because of their irresponsible parents."
Rodney blinked. "Come again?"
"Well, he asked me why we did it, and I could only remember the story about the really bad inventor guy with the three daughters and no dowry..."
"Is that all?"
"Uh," Sheppard shifted restlessly, "I also think we should avoid any hallways with both Ronon and mistletoe."
"Do I want to know?"
"No," Sheppard said quickly. "Um, and there's one more thing."
"What twisted explanation did you give him about Christmas trees?" Rodney asked suspiciously. "Please don't tell me you mixed up the old child sacrifice in front of the oak tree in with the burning Yule log in there."
"What? No, nothing like that."
"Then why did you feed me?" Rodney asked, discarding the core of the now demolished apple and began to look for something to clean off his sticky fingers. "Not that I'm complaining, but it's not exactly normal."
"Ronon wants to see an angel."
"He wants to what now?"
"Well, it started with me trying to straighten out your version of the Nativity story, and it kind of spiraled out of control."
"Was this before or after you somehow managed to convince him something frightening about mistletoe?"
"I don't know," Sheppard said a little desperately, "it all kind of became a blur after Pedophile Santa Claus."
"Not. My. Fault."
"Like it or not, Rodney, you're in this with me. You started this mess."
"No, I didn't. No, I didn't. That was all Lorne, who for some reason decided he needed to walk the halls dressed as our jolly nemesis."
"Santa Claus isn't our enemy."
"Oh really? What has he done for you lately?"
After a long moment's pause, Sheppard grudgingly admitted, "Point."
Rodney nodded jerkily, finally finding a napkin and began to furiously scrub at his juice-soaked fingers. "This is getting out of hand. I mean, this shouldn't be so hard to explain."
"You're telling me." Sheppard crossed his arms and leaned against one of the work tables. "So what's the plan?"
"Why do I have to come up with a plan?"
"I brought you an apple."
"It was a fresh one."
"Your logic confuses me."
"Look, we have to fix this. Do you really want to risk running into him and mistletoe at the same time?"
"Okay, what the hell did you tell him about mistletoe?"
"That doesn't matter—"
"The hell it does—"
"Rodney," Sheppard said quietly, "I need your help."
"Fine," he huffed and crossed his arms. Maybe he did have a tiny bit of responsibility in this holiday mix-up. It happened to the best of people. (Except Daniel Jackson, the jerk.) "What do you want me to do?"
"You're like a broken record, you know that?" At the look he got, Rodney threw his hands up in the air. "Yeah, okay, whatever. As much as it pains me to admit, I am apparently not qualified to explain this holiday, and clearly you—you... seriously, what did you tell him about the mistletoe?"
"Fine." Rodney moved from the laptop he'd been working at to his main terminal, and opened up the city's intranet. "Either way, I think we need to bring in an expert to help with our education efforts."
"And who would that be?"
He tapped in several keys, and then indicated the black and white video that flickered into life on the screen. "Hollywood."
Sheppard frowned, and leaned forward as the video rolled through the opening sequence of It's a Wonderful Life. "I don't know..."
"You said he wanted to see an angel," Rodney said pointedly.
Sheppard let out a ragged sigh and shook his head. "Jimmy Stewart, don't fail us now."
Prompt: SGA; Gen; John and Rodney; watching old movies