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FIC: And Poppies For Remembrance (SGA)

Title: And Poppies for Remembrance
by Shaddyr
Rating: G
Genre: Team fic. Rodney and Ronon bond.

Notes: This was my writing for wrisomifu today. Thanks to outsideth3box for the quicky beta. She's made of awesome. She also came up with the title, for which I love her, since I hate titles. And endings. And, well, all sorts of things about writing. WHY do I do this, again? Oh right. Because John and Rodney are in my BRAIN and they won't SHUT UP! Right. Just checking.

Summary: He looked down at the brilliant red flower pinned to his jacket and ran a finger along the edge of it. "We wear a poppy to remember, lest we forget and it happens again."

The breeze off the bay was cold and brisk, ruffling Rodney's hair. He stared out over the water, feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance over the fact that, while he *knew* Atlantis was right there, he couldn't see her. It was disconcerting.

A few feet away, Sheppard was regaling Ronon with the story of the famous escape from Alcatraz, describing the treacherous currents and icy cold water. He gave a silent laugh at the look on Ronon's face. Judging by his expression, he was itching to try it himself. Rodney had no doubt that his teammate could make it, and easily. An escape from Alcatraz would be nothing after years of outrunning the Wraith.

"You are quiet today," came a soft voice from beside him. He glanced down at Teyla as she stood gazing across the bay, her warm wool coat buttoned up under her chin. A fresh gust of wind found its way under his jacket, and he shivered. He pulled his zipper as high as it would go before securing his scarf more tightly around his neck.

"This is one of the isolated occasions where Sheppard actually knows more about something than I do," he said, rolling his eyes. Sheppard was still animatedly describing the different theories about what might have happened to the escapees. He'd drawn a bit of a crowd who, along with Ronon, were peppering him with questions. "Maybe he should pick up a side job as tour guide while we're waiting to be redeployed. It's amusing to watch him conduct Story Time for Morons, 101. I'm just waiting for him to say something truly idiotic that I can mock him for later."

Teyla shook her head, but gave him the indulgent smile that he'd learned to interpret as 'oh you silly-boys'. The wind gusted up again, catching the edge of his scarf and whipping it free. Exasperated, he took it off, then unzipped his jacket a little before re-wrapping the scarf around his neck. He shoved the tails inside his jacket and zipped it back up. He noticed Teyla's gaze settle on him, and he gave her a questioning look. She surprised him when she reached out and rested her fingers on his lapel.

"I have not noticed you wear this red flower in the past," she said, running her thumb along the edge of it. "I asked John about it earlier. He said that it was a custom of remembrance."

"The poppy," he said nodding. "Yes, it is. It's Remembrance Day tomorrow. When I was up visiting Jeannie last week, there was a vet selling poppies at the grocery store." He looked bemused. "I haven't worn a poppy in years. I always used to, before Pegasus."

"What does your 'Remembrance Day' commemorate?" she asked, curious. "What is it you are supposed to remember?"

He took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. "You know that, here on earth, there have been many wars."

Teyla nodded. "I have been reading what little I can understand in your written language, and watching recorded documentaries on your history. There have been terrible wars on this planet. It is a wonder that you have not eradicated each other."

"Yeah. Oppenheimer's got nothing on me, though." He gave a wry laugh. "*I* managed to destroy most of a solar system."

"That is long past and you have learned much of humility since that time, Rodney," she replied firmly. "Please tell me about your day of Remembrance."

"During the First World War - it was called the Great War at the time, since it was war on a scale beyond what the planet had ever seen before - there was a Canadian Doctor stationed in Belgium. The death toll was horrific - just imagine a Wraith slash and burn culling, it was almost that bad. There were bodies and graves everywhere. But, despite all the death, the poppies continued to grow and bloom. He wrote a poem about them that became very famous, and not long after that, poppies became the symbol of remembrance. To remember loved ones, the fallen soldiers who never made it home - mostly though, to remember the horror, the carnage and the huge price that had been paid for our freedom from tyranny." He looked down at the brilliant red flower pinned to his jacket. "We wear a poppy to remember, lest we forget and it happens again."

"That's very eloquent, McKay."

He snapped his head around and fixed his eyes on Sheppard. He and Ronon had both moved in close while Rodney had been speaking to Teyla. He searched for some sign that he was being mocked, but the Colonel wasn't smirking. It seemed that he'd meant exactly what he'd said.

"Well. It's not like I believe in war," he continued, feeling a little flustered and on the spot, but with a need to explain. "It's just - my Grandfather and great uncle were both in World War II. Uncle Meredith was a member of the Cameron Highlanders. He was actually in the Battle of Dieppe."

"Wow." Sheppard shook his head, then looked turned to Ronon to explain. "The Battle of Dieppe was one of the most brutal battles in the Second World War. The allied forces made a gross miscalculation. They didn't know that the Germans were dug in, and when the Allies landed, it was a blood bath. Almost half the troops were killed." He looked back over at Rodney. "Most of the forces that landed in Dieppe were Canadian."

Rodney nodded. "My Uncle was one of the lucky ones. Just over 300 of them made it out - he just barely escaped with his life. My granddad was an engineer. He didn't go into combat - he designed rockets. He went on to work at the Fort Churchill rocket complex in the 50's."

He turned to face Teyla once more. "I've worked for the US military for most of my adult life, and as much as I hate the idea that people are fighting and shooting each other and *dying*, I know that sometimes, it's necessary. People from my family fought against Hitler, against fascism and tyranny, and I'm proud that I can say, that was my Uncle who fought, that was my grandfather who served. Until I went to Atlantis, I'd never been in the forefront of that kind of danger, where I might get shot at - or have to shoot someone else." He dropped his gaze for a moment, and cleared his throat before looking away, over the water. "And now? I've fought, and I've bled, and I've been responsible for the deaths of aliens and humans who were either threatening me or people I- care about. I've fought, not just to keep my country safe, but for the safety of this whole planet. I've had to watch friends and colleagues die. And I've clearly lost my mind somewhere along the line, because we're going back - *I'm* going back - and that means going back in the field, knowing full well that running for our lives now and then is part of what we do. And I'm okay with that. And I wish that Uncle Mer and gramps were still here so I could, I could tell them that- " his voice faltered, and his eyes stung, tears prickling at the edges. He cleared his throat again.

"Damn wind," he muttered scrubbing furiously at his eyes. "Dust," he offered by way of explanation, blinking the tears away. When he finally looked up, he was surprised to see that Sheppard's eyes were also suspiciously bright.

"Yeah, buddy," he croaked out, lifting a hand to swipe at his eyes as well. "It got me, too."

Rodney saw Ronon and Teyla exchange a glance that meant "Earth people are weird" just before Ronon trudged up to him and wrapped him in a powerful embrace, his arms pinned to his sides, completely immobilized.

"You have fought with me," Ronon began, speaking melodically, and Rodney realized he was reciting something. "You have bled with me. You have become one of my clan. We are warriors, serving the same taskmaster and our bonds transcend mere family. We are brothers of blood and fire."

With that, Ronon released him and gave him a clap on the shoulder that sent him reeling backwards into Sheppard. The two of the stumbled, grabbing each other for support.

"Wh-what the hell was that?" Rodney demanded, but he was polite about it, because it seemed like some kind of ritual and it was probably important to Ronon, but seriously, what the hell?

Ronon shrugged. "You wanted to tell your kin that you understood the way of the warrior."

Rodney waited for a moment, realized that was all he'd get without further prompting. "And?"

He got a wide, somewhat feral grin. "We're already kin, I just spoke the words out loud. I know you're a warrior, even if you are a little slow in the field. You have a big brain, so it works out."

"Okay then," he replied, feeling a little dumbstruck. He traded a glance with Sheppard.

Weird Satedan rituals he said with a complicated wave of his hands.

Whatever, just go with it Sheppard replied with a shrug and a strange eyebrow flutter.

"So," Ronon said, absently scratching his belly. "Where do we find food around here? I'm hungry."

Back in safe territory once again, thought Rodney. Sheppard began to extol virtues of several different restaurants in Sausalito as he and Ronon began walking toward the SUV. He took a step after them and unexpectedly felt an arm thread through his. He looked at Teyla in surprise, but she just smiled up at him.

"Ronon is correct, Rodney," she said as they slowly followed along behind their teammates. "We are your kin, and we see you."

He could feel his throat tightening up again, but she continued, sparing him the need to respond. "I should like to have a poppy," she said thoughtfully.

He came to a stop, Teyla halting beside him. Without a word, he pulled the poppy from his lapel and stepped in close to pin it to her coat, before linking their arms and continuing on their way.

"I will remember," she promised. And he knew she would.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 13th, 2010 10:40 am (UTC)
This was beautiful and so moving. I loved that they shared this moment, remembering the ones they'd lost.

Thank you.
Nov. 13th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
Beautiful story
Nov. 13th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
Beautifully done and perfect for the day. ♥
Nov. 13th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC)
Love Ronon's ritual.

Plus this line? And I've clearly lost my mind somewhere along the line, because we're going back - *I'm* going back - So very very Rodney

Funny that dust/wind storm getting both our guys. *snerk*
Nov. 13th, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC)
This is just lovely.
Nov. 13th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
I think the dust caught me too. That was absolutely lovely. Thank you.
Nov. 13th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
Absolutely beautiful and very moving. Thank you.
Nov. 13th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
Your eloquence has reduced me to tears (and I don't even dare to blame it on the cold I have). I am so grateful for the kinship that these four characters have forged through both triumph and tragedy.

And I'm particularly touched that you made John an intelligent American who knew about the devastating losses to the Canadian forces at Dieppe. But, then, he's the least likely U.S. military person in SGA to be that jingoistically narrow-minded.
Nov. 13th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
What a sweet bonding moment for them all.
Nov. 13th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
Nicely done and very moving. My eyes are also suspiciously bright.
Nov. 13th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
*sniffs* Oh, that made me a little teary. I was hoping someone would write SGA fic for Remembrance Day, and this was lovely.
Nov. 13th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
This was lovely. Thank you.
Nov. 13th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Awwww. :) That was very sweet, and a nice tribute as well.
Nov. 13th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Aww, that was absolutely beautiful! *wipes eyes* Damn wind!
Nov. 14th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
I have always want someone to write a SGA Remembrance Day fic. I thought it should involved Rodney explaining the importance of the day to Teyla & Ronon. I am grateful that you wrote it. Thanks for a very moving tale.
Nov. 14th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
Lovely! I love the way Ronon and Teyla share looks about weird Earth people and then John and Rodney exchange a silent conversation about weird Satedan rituals!!

Also, the bit about Uncle Meredith was great - explains his first name too!
Nov. 14th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely! I especially like Ronon's "formal" recitation to Rodney, and the overall welcoming, comforting sense of Team.
Nov. 15th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Darn it! Got a little dust in my eyes too.

Lovely story.
Nov. 16th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
Very very nice.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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