So, it turned out that Satedans didn't have bachelor parties.
Not that John was complaining - God only knew what kind of trouble Ronon and the marines would've gotten into if they did. He really wouldn't have wanted to be the one explaining to Woolsey why there was a kegger going on in the gate room. Or worse, explaining to Amelia why her fiancÚ was tied to the DHD wearing nothing but a pink feather boa and with 'I love Ethel' sharpied across his chest.
Instead, Satedans went in for some ritual-brotherhood-bonding thing with their closest friends - which in Ronon's case was the team. So, a week before the wedding, John had piloted them all over to a deserted stretch of the mainland for the night.
"You know, I really thought there was going to be more pain involved," Rodney said thoughtfully, pulling his stick away from the campfire and blowing on the marshmallow on the end of it before taking a bite. "Klingon pain sticks, or trials of endurance, or something." His hands and the stick sketched the undefined 'something' in the air.
"Exactly!" John pointed a finger at Rodney before finishing the last bite of his s'more. "Some ritual blood-letting or a sweat lodge, maybe." He licked a smear of chocolate from his thumb, and across the fire, Ronon and Teyla exchanged amused smiles. "I'm just saying that it's a little less intense than I'd expected. You know, no armed combat to the death or stuff."
Ronon snorted. "You guys are weird."
"It's not that we're complaining," Rodney said quickly. "We're just, ah, surprised. That's all."
"Surprised." John nodded, and okay, he must have had more of Halling's brew than he'd realised - or maybe this batch was stronger – because his head was spinning a little.
"S'just a time to share with your brothers." Ronon shrugged. "The people who're important to you. To let them know their place in your life."
"The Athosians have a similar ceremony – when we give thanks for the people who anchor us as we move to a new phase of our lives." Teyla smiled gently. "To remember that we still have those ties despite forging new ones upon pair bonding. Do you not have a similar custom on Earth?"
John rubbed the back of his neck, thinking of most of the bachelor parties he'd ever been to. There'd mainly been beer and strippers. "Not exactly – it's a little less 'spiritual', I guess."
"That's one way of putting it," Rodney laughed, leaning into John's side.
John smiled and pressed closer, soaking up Rodney's warmth. He definitely liked the Satedan version better.