Written as part of the Jumping the Shark challenge to cheer up a friend during her recovery from surgery, and originally posted to the Livejournal community merrymakings.
This was inspired by some of the beanie-SGA drawings that cynicatlantis did, which she graciously allowed me to use here, and then even drew more specifically for this story, for which I'm incredibly grateful. Check out her work!
To read this with the illos linked, rather than embededded, go here.
Many thanks to Mary Crawford and Therienne for beta.
written March 8, 2006; posted to my site April 9, 2006
"Oh no," Rodney whispered, ducking back. "No, no, no. We're doomed." They'd never make it to John now. He'd been at least forty feet away at the end of the row of long lab tables when everything had gone to hell.
"What is it?" Ronon shifted around him to look.
"Land shark, get down!" he hissed, tugging at the back of Ronon's shirt.
Ronon bent forward against the strain, growling. "McKay --"
"Land! Shark!" With one last tug, he pulled Ronon back and tumbled them both behind the coffee cup.
Ronon shoved himself up to his knees, glaring. "What's a land shark? I can take it."
"It's a shark. On the land."
Ronon raised his eyebrows, clearly unimpressed. Rodney huffed and drew them both back a few more steps for safety. Ronon rolled his eyes.
"Okay, look. Sharks? Do not live on land. They live in the ocean. Where they are very big and very scary and they eat you. And where you avoid them by not going into the water. This shark is on the land. Specifically, it's in this lab, on this table, a few feet away. Where it can eat us."
"You said Zelenka said the whole city got caught in that energy wave thing."
Ronon turned his head to look back at the edge of the coffee cup, then looked back at Rodney. "So... it's stuffed. How much of a fight can it put up? I can take it."
"Oh, yes, that's right. It's stuffed. That changes everything, naturally." He gestured widely between them. "So are we, you overgrown moron. If you think you can take it, it thinks it can take us, trust me." A horrible thought occurred to him, and he dashed for the edge of the coffee cup again, peering around with his heart in his mouth. "Do you think it ate Colonel Sheppard?" he whispered to Ronon.
Ronon's eyes narrowed and he started growling again. "If it did, it won't make it back to the ocean," he said grimly.
"What the hell are you two doing?" John demanded from behind them.
Rodney yelped and would have fallen out into full view if Ronon hadn't whipped an arm around him to hold him still. He clapped a hand over his mouth and turned his head, staring wide-eyed at John.
"There's a land shark out there, get back here!" John hissed, gesturing fiercely.
Outraged, Rodney drew himself up and out of Ronon's grip. "Yes, thank you, Colonel, I'm well aware that there's a land shark out there, I thought it ate you. It has to have come right past your last reported position!" He stopped and stared. "Oh my god, John. I thought it ate you." He lunged forward and caught John in a fierce hug -- a little squishier than was really manly, but that couldn't be helped under the circumstances.
John hugged back reflexively, then patted his back a couple of times, murmuring, "Easy, easy, it's okay, I'm fine."
Rodney sniffed once, hoping it sounded haughty, and pulled back. "Of course you're fine. Sorry about that, didn't mean to go all soft on you, just... I've gone all... soft."
John grinned. "Yeah, I noticed. At least we seem to be anatomically correct. Or I am, anyway." He waggled his eyebrows at them.
"You really are twelve, aren't you?"
"Hey, I'm just sayin'." John blinked past Rodney and put a hand up. "Easy, Ronon, it's okay, I believe you."
Rodney twisted to see Ronon refastening his pants. "God."
"Hey, do you think -- you know." John gestured meaningfully at his groin, looking a little worried.
Wincing, Rodney admitted, "I'm trying not to think about it, honestly."
John nodded. "'Cause I gotta tell you -- this isn't encouraging." He pulled his 9mm out of its holster and waved it flappily about.
Rodney winced harder. "Can you put that away, please? It's depressing."
"Right." He holstered it carefully, needing both hands to get it in. All three men winced a little. "Okay. So. What the hell happened, anyway?"
Rodney waved a hand. "Energy wave of some sort. Radek's working on it."
John frowned. "Didn't he --?"
"Yes, yes, of course. But he was carrying his laptop when the wave hit, and it changed with him."
"But shouldn't it be --?"
"Yes, but he says he can still use it."
"That... really doesn't make sense."
"Maybe it's a Czech thing."
"A Czech thing? Rodney..."
"I don't know, okay! I'm just glad he's got it."
"You're wasting time," Ronon said. "What are we going to do about the land shark?"
John got a tactical sort of look in his eye, which really shouldn't have looked anywhere near as hot as it did, given their current condition.
"Technically, we could just ignore it and go away," Rodney blurted out. He stiffened when they both just looked at him. "We could. The only reason we had to get past it was to get to the Colonel here, and since you got yourself around it to us -- we can ignore it."
"He's right," John admitted, looking at Ronon. "There's no actual reason to go fight the land shark."
They both sighed softly.
"Oh my god, you're both disappointed. What is wrong with you?"
"C'mon, Rodney, how often do you get a chance to take on a shark?"
"I hear something," Ronon said, moving back toward the edge of the coffee cup.
Rodney and John went with him, Rodney blessing the soft fabric feet that meant he was as silent as the others for once.
"Shark's gone," Ronon reported quietly, moving out into the open space in front of the cup. "I'm gonna check it out." He dropped to the surface and began crawling forward. When he reached the edge of the table he stopped for a moment, then turned back to them and cautiously waved them forward.
"What are you doing?" Rodney whispered fiercely as John dropped and started crawling.
"Rodney, get down and get out here!" John whispered back.
"We should be leaving now," Rodney felt compelled to point out, even as he dropped and crawled in turn.
He inched forward as he reached the edge of the table, pausing as John reached out a stealthy hand and pressed firmly against his back.
John leaned in close, his hand sliding up to cup Rodney's neck. "Don't yell," he breathed into Rodney's ear. "Seriously. Don't. Yell."
Rodney blinked and nodded, easing forward the last inch or two to peer over the edge. He sucked in a hard breath through his nose. "That is a Wraith," he said faintly, turning to look at John.
"Yes, it is," John murmured.
Rodney turned back to the scene below, shaking his head in disbelief. Clearly the Wraith had been caught in the same energy wave as the rest of them, all his hard planes and angles softened into fabric and what in a less deadly creature could be called fluff. He hadn't lost any of his attitude, though, glaring fiercely at the shark and baring his teeth in threat.
"What's the land shark doing?" Ronon asked softly from beyond John.
"Circling," John said. "That's what sharks do -- they circle their prey, then start taking bites out."
Ronon made shuffly noises as he arranged himself comfortably, resting his chin on his crossed wrists. "This should be interesting."
"It really should," John agreed, tucking his left arm up to rest his chin on. He left his right hand on Rodney's nape, the weight of it strangely comforting.
Rodney had to admit they were right. This was an opportunity not to be missed, especially from a safe perch. "Wish I had a camcorder," he muttered.
The combatants were totally focused on each other, with the Wraith revolving slowly to match the shark's lazy orbit as they sized each other up. The shark's left fins looked a bit smushed; he must have landed on that side when he dived off the tabletop to go after the Wraith. It didn't seem to be affecting his movements at all, though. Rodney made a mental note to ask a marine biologist about it later.
The shark lunged, startling a soft exclamation from all three of them. Even Ronon sounded impressed at the speed and ferocity as the shark tried to bite the Wraith's leg off. Roaring, the Wraith slammed its hand down on the shark's side again and again, trying to feed.
They settled in to a bizarre, predatory dance -- gnawing shark, slapping Wraith, writhing in place as they vied for dominance and survival. The Wraith got the upper hand at first, bodily forcing the shark back against a sharp edge of metal and slicing him open along his side, bits of stuffing spilling out. But stuffing on the floor seemed to work like blood in the water; the shark went crazy, biting and body-checking the Wraith. When the Wraith tried to brace himself for leverage, the shark got him by the arm, twisting and ripping it right off.
"That's gotta hurt," John observed.
"You think? I'm not sure about nerve endings and pain like this -- ow!" He glared and rubbed the earlobe John had just pinched.
"Yeah, I think that probably hurt. Whoa, look at that."
Rodney looked. The shark had pressed its advantage and was busily digging stuffing out of an ever-widening hole while the Wraith hit it with his remaining hand. The Wraith was clearly weakening, its blows coming less frequently and with far less force, until with a final vicious shake the shark pulled out enough stuffing to collapse the Wraith's torso completely.
The shark circled around in the wreckage a bit more, nosing bits of stuffing and shell around, then started swimming across the floor in the general direction of the door.
"Crap," John said, shoving himself to his feet. "C'mon, we have to get there first! If he's loose in Atlantis when Zelenka gets this fixed..."
Rodney and Ronon were on their feet and running with him, racing down the table for the doorway. They made it just ahead of the shark, leaping frantically from the edge of the table through the open door it abutted. The next energy wave caught them in mid-air and they landed hard in the corridor, breath slamming out of them.
The doors shut just in time, the restored shark thudding into them with a sound that made Rodney shudder. A second later his diaphragm came back online, and he sucked in a whooping breath, John and Ronon right behind him.
As soon as he'd caught his breath, Rodney looked at John, who looked back at him.
"Candygram!" they said in perfect unison, and grinned.
Author's further notes:
I did not come up with the beanie babies, but borrowed them shamelessly to write this in hopes it would cheer Merry up. The original creator was Mmmchelle, who wrote a wonderful beanie John story, Inanimate, that inspired cynicatlantis to draw some beanie SGA illos, which in turn (especially Rodney peering around that coffee cup. *loves*) inspired me to write this.
Cynicatlantis made every illustration here, from the cover to the animated .gif at the end, and I am unbelievably grateful to her. You can find all of her beanie SGA art (there's way more than I put here!) here . Seriously -- check it out, it's fabulous.
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