Rodney knew he was going to have a good time the moment he walked into the Christmas party being held in the Mess Hall – and was greeted with a stream of furious cursing in Czech.
He walked over to where Radek was gazing into the air, gesturing wildly and correcting whoever was on the other end of the radio in a blinding blur of languages.
"Problems?" he asked mildly.
Radek whirled and gestured at him. "You – do not speak to me right now."
"Ah, it's Jefferson, then." He snapped his fingers, and Radek handed over the radio. "Yes, Jefferson. Leave Zelenka alone today. You have a problem?" He grinned. "Yes, Corporal, I'm aware you have no hot water. You can wait a few days – it's Christmas and your quarters are pretty low on the priorities list."
He listened to a rant for a moment, bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet as he saw John approach and cluing the Colonel into what was going on with his response. "Really? Well then, Corporal Jefferson, perhaps you should have thought of that before you called Miss Emmagen a brainless alien bimbo." He cut the connection and handed the radio back to Radek.
John's eyebrows were trying to climb into his hair. "And she didn't hand him his spleen?"
"She didn't hear it," Rodney explained.
John nodded. "I'll have a discussion with the newcomers – after the party."
Radek muttered in Czech, then finished in English. "--also that scientists are not military's fix-it men!"
"I'll see what I can do," John said. "I thought this was a party?"
"It was until it was so rudely interrupted," Radek snarled. "I must go calm now." He pushed past them and stalked off.
John smirked at Rodney. "No hot water? Isn't that a little mild for you?"
"Wait till he finds the other booby-traps I laid," Rodney grinned. "Oh, here, before I forget." He handed John an envelope. "Open that when you're back in your quarters. And – Merry Christmas." Clapping John on the shoulder, Rodney went on to talk to Carson, who had just walked in.
John frowned at the envelope. Curiosity overcame sociability, and he slid out of the party.
In his quarters, John opened the envelope and pulled out the folded papers inside.
Then he sat on the bed with a thump! as he realised what he held in his hands.
Certification of competency on the firing range.
Certification of competency in hand-to-hand combat.
Certification of passage of the grueling Marine training physical exam – with a fairly good time.
All signed by Major Lorne.
All issued to Doctor Rodney McKay.
John read the documents over and over again – then with shaking fingers, he touched his radio. "Sheppard to McKay."
"Rodney – why?"
To his credit, Rodney didn't even pretend not to understand. "To help you out there," came the soft answer. "Ease your burden just a little – give you one less thing to worry about. Now I can cover your six instead of you always covering mine. Merry Christmas."
John cut the channel and just stared at the papers.
He never – in a million years – had expected Rodney to do this.
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