Summary: Another story written to celebrate those whacky American holidays. This time it revolves round the misinterpretation of a word. Makes a BIG difference when you get it wrong.
Author's Chapter Notes:
This little piece of nonsense has been written in admiration of the fact that, along with many other crazy themes, October is cited as National Cosmetology month in America. Don't you just love these bizarre holidays!
It is meant in no way as an insult to our lovely friends from America OR Atlantis, just a vehicle for some madness on my part, and maybe some entertainment on yours.
Spoilers: absolutely none that I can think of.
Team Sheppard and a certain annoying, occasional member of the cast whom we last saw on the Midway station. For the purposes of this story he's once again on Atlantis – writer's privilege.
Rodney would never have categorised himself as an athlete. Certainly, had you asked him to run a 100 metre dash before he took the ride of his life through that giant naquadah doughnut known as the stargate, he'd have driven you into the ground mercilessly with a scathing comment and a look that would have fried your last synapse into oblivion.
Nowadays, life was just one long sprint! The run-for-your-life type sprinting that Team Sheppard seemed to encounter with repetitive monotony. They were usually being pursued by life-sucking Wraith, homicidal Genii, mind-probing Replicators or any and all other freaking maniacs to be found out here in the Pegasus Galaxy.
Today, however, he was running and laughing, and how often did that happen?
"I understand that October has been designated National Cosmetology month. I will be making it my responsibility to submit my project to Mr Woolsey, McKay. He will, no doubt, submit it for consideration to the International Committee."
The speaker allowed himself a look that clearly stated his entry would surpass all others and achieve that Nobel Prize McKay was so greedy for. It also asserted that, for the record, no-one else should even bother entering a project because they'd stand less than a snowball's chance in Hell.
He droned on some more.
"I would appreciate it, therefore, if you would keep out of my way whilst I conduct my work and try to keep to a bare minimum the number of times I am required to assist you in your work."
Meredith Rodney McKay was seldom struck dumb but on the rare occasion that it did happen those around him were equally afflicted by the startling occurrence. Today, they included Radek, Miko and assorted science minions trying to a man (and woman) to ignore the scene developing between McKay and his once-pony-tailed nemesis, Kavanagh.
To say that there was no love lost between the two men was to show masterful control of the use of irony. They loathed each other to the point of regularly having to be physically placed in different labs for fear of a reaction bigger than a large hadron collider.
"Excuse me! YOUR assistance in my work? Hell would freeze over before I would let you even read my work never mind stick your fingers anywhere close to it." Rodney was warming to his theme. "Rest assured, I will have absolutely no problem ignoring you for as long as you want. Longer. Go away and...do whatever it is you feel you need to do for this...whatever you called it..."
"Yes, yes, Cosmetology, very good. Now, go away!"
Kavanagh had no more love for McKay than the other for he so he lost no time in moving to his own part of the Science Section in their glasshouse alien home, muttering all the while about Nobel Prizes, annoying Canadians and being stuck out here away from the hub of development back on Earth.
Many were the times he regretted accepting the invitation to step through that damned ring. Back home he could have been a leading light in his professional field instead of having to answer to McKay and Richard Woolsey. It galled him that Woolsey would have final say in whether or not his project would get sent to Earth with one of the routine data bursts.
How could someone with no appreciation of his brilliance possibly hope to grasp the importance of his work? The only person close enough to his own genius was McKay and there would be two moons in the sky with pigs doing aeronautical displays over both before he showed his work to him.
"So, I took a sneaky peek at what he's done so far...well, you know...just to make certain he's not going to sap the Zed PM of its power or compromise the shield."
McKay was blustering and he knew it.
"Oh, of course!" John Sheppard's voice was heavy with sarcasm.
He had the measure of this man he called friend.
He knew him almost too well when it came to matters of pride and no matter how hard Rodney tried, he'd never convince Sheppard that it wasn't professional pique that the other man had got the idea of a project first and was already well under way with his work.
"Yes, but what I almost laughed myself silly over is the fact that he hasn't even bothered to confirm the definition of Cosmetology. There is he, conducting these expensive experiments and all the while he's barking up entirely the wrong forest never mind a tree! It's too funny for words and the best thing that could have happened to that jumped up twerp."
"And naturally, being the bigger man, you're going to point out his mistakes to him?"
"Yeah, right! He told me, in front of everyone, that his work was of as much importance as mine, if not more so, and that I should take a hike. This is me, taking a hike."
McKay's face portrayed such smugness John was certain Kavanagh had to have been struck blind not to have noticed, and wondered at the cause.
John mulled over the situation for a few moments. He'd no great love for the tiresome scientist, either, especially after his less than helpful suggestions that time the jumper had been lodged in the stargate.
The small fact that he'd initiated the self-destruct on Midway ranked pretty high with John too. Or Kavanagh's tendency to run off and report anything and everything to the IOA.
They had enough enemies out here in this whacked-out playing field without the top brass breathing down their necks from Earth, courtesy of their mole.
"Still, in the name of scientific development, Rodney, I feel it's only but right that you should offer your assistance. Here's what I suggest..."
Kavanagh had developed a relationship with the expedition's hairstylist that was to his complete satisfaction...he called her names and told her off and she trimmed his hair just the way he demanded. All-in-all, a relationship he was more than content to work with.
He attended her once a month for a trim, occasional conditioning treatment and facial, something he kept just between them and had threatened her over her discretion about. If the girl was often reduced to tears he put it down to all those nasty chemicals hairstylists surrounded themselves with.
On this particular morning he was surprised to see the waiting area outside the room designated as her salon quite full.
Ronan Dex was there and this was more than a shock to the fastidious scientist. He had often speculated that the huge Satedan didn't ever wash his dreadlocks, never mind get them trimmed. To see him sitting there just managed to ruin Kavanagh's nice prejudice he had developed against the man.
He would be a long time dead before he got over the way he'd been treated over that Gou'ald situation.
Teyla Emmagan sat there as well but that wasn't much of a shock. Kavanagh had a sneaking admiration for the beautiful Athosian even if she was less intelligent than him. She had a natural beauty that transcended cleverness and she had been known to even bestow her radiant smile upon him, sometimes.
McKay was there, naturally! Everywhere he turned of late, the scientist seemed to be dogging his heels. He was beginning to think McKay was stalking him.
And to complete the package Lt Colonel John Sheppard, USAF and pain in the backside, was there, his little private army gathered around him like groupies.
Kavanagh had despised this arrogant, cock-sure, handsome, arrogant (okay, so he repeated himself sometimes) pilot from the day and hour they'd embarked on this grand adventure. For no better reason he had to admit that he wished his own lank locks would stand up in that curiously attractive style the colonel sported – the just-out-of-bed-and-maybe-I-wasn't-alone look.
He began to fret that they were all waiting for the same appointment time as his. One thing guaranteed to tip him over the edge of sanity was tardiness. If that stupid stylist had double, triple or even quintuple-booked herself he'd just have to put her straight on a few matters. Namely, that he was by far too important to have to either make a new appointment or wait!
Gretchen opened the door and peeked out into a suddenly packed waiting area and her blonde eyebrows rose in amazement. It was only yesterday that she'd last spoken to the colonel and Dr McKay so she hadn't expected to see them here again so soon.
She smiled at her clientele before checking her appointments book again.
"Dr Kavanagh, I believe you're next."
She stood back to allow him to pass her and noticed the look of smug satisfaction he delivered to the others before shoving ungraciously past her.
McKay and the colonel had shared a grin, she'd noticed, and her pulse sped up a little at what she was planning to do.
These men would be her undoing.
John was the epitome of relaxation, his lanky frame stretched out quite comfortably in the soft chair and his attention fully on the game in his hands.
Teyla had brought Torren John along and she and Ronan were cooing and giggling over his latest antics as he wriggled about on the carpeting.
Rodney would occasionally look up and smile benignly at the infant and his doting mother before resuming his incessant typing on the laptop that John was sure had been surgically fused to the man.
All had been quiet in the room since Kavanagh had entered the salon but there was a certain hum of expectation that one couldn't quite put a finger on. Just that they seemed to be waiting, and if questioned, none of the four adults would admit to having an appointment for Gretchen's expert touch.
Peace and tranquillity was a thing of the past when the salon door opened with a bang that sent Torren John into a squawk of fright.
Four faces turned towards the door and four faces broke into matching grins at the sight before them.
Resplendent in green, from roots to tips, Kavanagh's hair certainly looked glossy, if not quite the look he'd gone in for. His cheeks still bore the residue of a face pack that he'd tried to scrape off with a towel and what skin could be seen had taken on a dangerously red hue.
"Not exactly regulation, Kavanagh, but then you're not one of my men, thank God," John murmured, sniggering, and it was all he could do to not guffaw out loud.
Ronan wasn't as restrained. He'd no liking for this pompous ass and when he'd heard what was afoot this morning, undomesticated equines, as his new buddy Teal'c would say, wouldn't have kept him from sitting in that waiting area, until hell froze over if need be, just to see this vision.
He threw back his head and released a roar of laughter that further startled Torren John who decided to join the noise by wailing enthusiastically.
Teyla, who had struggled with her own facial gymnastics, gathered her fretful son into her arms and cast a reproachful look at her friend. But she couldn't maintain the anger as she once again inspected the jolly green...er...well, not exactly a giant.
She looked to the smartest man in the room...well, by his own account at least.
"Rodney, would you now please explain why we are here?"
McKay gasped as he tried to take in enough air to satisfy the demands of his lungs. He wasn't sure if he'd ever get over the look on Kavanagh's face. He was on the point of explaining when Kavanagh seemed to realise that perhaps this laughing jackass had something to do with his current state.
Kavanagh had been ready to storm right up to Richard Woolsey's office – well, after stopping off at his own quarters for a towel to wrap around his head – and demand that Gretchen be sent back to Earth for complete incompetence. Now, he used his own brain to work out that these people might have something to do with this.
Rodney had turned to Teyla in response to her query.
"America being the crazy nation that it is..."
"Hey!" John defended.
Rodney continued as if there had been no interruption. "It decrees certain days, weeks or months to have...er...holidays designated. This month is, amongst others, National Cosmetology Month.
"Now anyone with half a brain knows that Cosmetology is to do with the study and application of beauty treatments but our Great Kavanagh," and here he pointed at the green-topped, red-faced, fuming scientist, "decided he knew what the word meant. He was working the lab rats into a frenzy studying cosmology instead.
"Naturally, being Chief Scientist it's my duty to point out my underling's mistakes and put an end to wasteful and expensive experiments. A little experiment of my own has brought home to Kavanagh the error of his ways."
He grinned at the fuming man, completely ignoring the fact that Sheppard was pointing to his own chest to stake a claim in the idea.
John decided, taking in the unhealthy hue of the mad scientist's face, that perhaps he'd rather not claim anything at all to do with the plan.
He thought for a moment. "So, McKay, are you saying Kavanagh won't be in the running for that Nobel Prize after all?"
McKay's grin was something to behold.
"Oh, I don't know. There are always the Ig Nobel Prizes!"
A/N: Wikipedia definition of Ig Nobel Prizes is a parody of the original (ignoble) and they were first created in 1991 for discoveries that 'cannot, or should not, be reproduced' and to make people laugh. I hope this fits the bill.
Kitty Oct. 08