Written for the "12 Days of Christmas" challenge. The prompt was: "One of the team members is reflective or apprehensive about Christmas. Why?"
"I don't understand."
"What's there not to understand?"
"You usually look forward to movie night."
"Yeah, I do."
"Then why are you holed up here instead of coming to watch with us?"
Rodney looked up, a frown drawing his brows together. "I told you. Until that movie is not on the menu, my presence will not be happening."
"Rodney," John drawled, moving to straddle one of the chairs, rolling it over to sit beside Rodney and leaning on the back. "Why?"
"Look, I'd rather not talk about it."
"Ronon's afraid he's done something wrong by choosing that movie."
"Yeah, well, he hasn't. It just leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that I can't watch it. Every year they show that monstrosity on TV – sometimes for 24 hours – I just can't stand it."
John spread his hands. "But Rodney – it's A Christmas Story! It's a classic!"
Rodney looked around at the deserted lab before leaning in and hissing, "Yeah, it's a classic about child abuse."
That got John's attention. He blinked, and the chair sped backward about five feet before he realised he'd startled that badly. ".....what?"
"The boy spends the entire movie getting humiliated, talked down to, being treated like he doesn't matter at all – and then in the worst scene of the entire movie, he is kicked down the chute by Santa's foot in his face." Rodney was shaking now, his fists balled. "It's too much like my childhood. So you will just have to forgive me for not being as excited as you are about watching this monstrosity."
John stared at him, and Rodney stared back at him. At last, John nodded and stood up, sending the chair back to its perch at Radek's desk. He squeezed Rodney's shoulder. "I'll explain to Ronon and Teyla."
Rodney sagged in visible relief. "Thank you."
"If I'd have known that's how you felt..."
Rodney waved a hand. "Don't worry about it. You had no way of knowing."
John nodded, then left the room.
Blowing the air out of his cheeks, Rodney turned back to his work.
Never mind that he'd long since stopped seeing the reports he was supposed to be reading.
Half an hour later, the door swished open again. Rodney looked up in surprise to see his entire Team standing there. "Hey – what's going on?"
"It's Team movie night," Ronon said, walking over. "It's not a Team without you."
"Look," Rodney pushed back from the desk. "I told you--" He stopped abruptly, automatically reaching to catch the DVD case Ronon casually tossed at him.
The others shared a smile at the ease with which Rodney caught the thing.
Rodney brought his hands down automatically and blinked when he realised what he held. ".......but....."
"Like he said," John said. "It's team movie night. So we changed the programming."
"....Holiday Inn?" Rodney gasped. "Where in the world did you get Holiday Inn?"
John shrugged. "Let's just say it's a movie with good memories and leave it there."
Rodney burst into a grin and stood up, walking over to them. Then he stopped. "Wait...who's bringing the popcorn?"
Teyla rolled her eyes. "You do not have to worry – I have promised I will never try to make popcorn again."
"Good." Rodney doubled back to turn off his computer. As they walked out of the lab, Rodney asked, "Are you aware that this is the movie where Fred Astaire got smashed out of his mind before he did a big dance number?"
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