GIVEN THE BIRD

By Enola Jones



John couldn't believe what he was hearing. Recover from being all buggy, your team goes on a mission without you, and suddenly giant reservoirs of goods are opened to you in trade and McKay was responsible for it?

Teyla and Ronon couldn't seem to believe it either. They both seemed slightly in shock as they were telling the tale. "So where is McKay?" John asked.

He had bolted from the conference room before the word "Infirmary" was fully out of Teyla's mouth.

Rodney was sitting up, at least shirtless and being treated for various lacerations on his chest, face, arms and back. He looked up as John entered. "You're not blue."

John blinked. "No, I'm not. I'm also not understanding what's going on here." Rodney hesitated, and John made a gesture with his hand. "That was your cue to start talking?"

"I don't think you'd believe me."

"I was just turned into a bug, Rodney. Believe me, I'll believe you!" Rodney sighed, then winced as Carson applied something particularly stinging to one of the deeper cuts. "Apparently it's tradition on Mreatha for a deal to be sealed by one of the leaders giving the other team the bird."

John frowned. "He flipped you off?"

"No, it's a literal bird. We were supposed to hold it while they recited the goods they would give us. When the one who caught it couldn't hold it any longer, the deal was over and we'd get what they said. Teyla said it'd been done that way for many generations."

"So they gave you this bird?"

"More like they threw it at me. And I had an armful of frightened, squawking avian. But I knew we needed those goods ---" And the look Rodney shot John said eloquently And I wanted you to be proud of me -- "So I held on."

"And on and on and on," Ronon said as he and Teyla finally entered the infirmary. "He held onto the pryashan for a full ten minutes!"

"And it was not easy," Teyla said, shaking her head. "It clawed and bit and struck at him and he released one hand twice for a better grip, but he still held on and the list kept growing."

John whistled. "Talk about taking one for the team. He held onto a chicken for ten--"

Ronon interrupted, "Wasn't a chicken, Sheppard. The pryashans are as big as Teyla."

John's eyes widened and snapped to Rodney, his jaw opening slightly as new respect bloomed in his chest.

THE END




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