Written for #4 Challenge - Weddings
Title: The Ceremony - 2,220 words
Legal: Not Mine
Summary: Rodney was pleased, at least, to see that no one was dressed in ancient druidical attire, wore flowers in their hair or was naked…
Beta: Un-beta'd so all errors are my own
The family room, with its vanilla walls, bright windows and colorful rugs was just as he remembered from their last visit, not to mention a nice diversion from the rigid monotony of the Lantean base. John liked this house. He'd been made to feel at home here, accepted, like family.
"And you're sure we're not putting you out," Rodney asked. "We'd stay in a hotel, only they're all booked, oddly enough."
"Don't be silly, we love having you, both of you," Jeannie replied. "And, the hotels are all booked because there's a huge renewal of vows ceremony going on in town - very new agey, not your kind of thing at all," she said purposefully to Rodney.
"New agey?" Rodney shot a glance at John.
Jeannie swatted at him, "Oh,
"What for, you're already married?" Rodney asked.
"Well, we've changed since we got married, matured, and we want to renew our
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Whatever--"
"I think it's a great idea," John said as he took her hand and kissed her cheek.
Giggly peals of delight interrupted them as
"Tonight? You're kidding," Rodney groaned, flopping down on the bed, "she didn't say anything about tonight."
"Shhh, they'll hear you," John whispered. "She wants us to be witnesses."
Rodney grasped his hand as he walked by. "I was kind of hoping we could go to bed early," he said, thumbing across his knuckles.
John smiled back at him and pulled him up from the bed. "C'mon Rodney, you should be happy to do it, you missed their wedding after all, you're getting a second chance handed to you." Damn him. John was right, of course, and Rodney silently berated himself for not thinking of it first.
"Oh, all right," he whined, circling his arms around John's waist. "I just hope I don't puke from all the new age drivel. Well, that and the fried tofu fingers and vegetarian sushi we had for dinner. God, I should have remembered to pack a few power bars."
John glared at him.
"If you don’t behave yourself, I'll be sleeping on the sofa," John warned, but he couldn't hide the smile in his voice. Rodney took him in a slow, meandering kiss that went from playful to passionate in a hot, damn hurry, and it was only Jeannie's knock on the door that broke the spell.
They were introduced to the other couples who were renewing their vows along with Jeannie and Kaleb - Gareth who worked with Kaleb, his wife Phoebe, and Archer and his partner Nathaniel. They all mingled around waiting for the arrival of the official who was to conduct the ceremony. Rodney was pleased, at least, to see that no one was dressed in ancient druidical attire, wore flowers in their hair or was naked - although Jeannie was barefoot. He and John kept Maddie occupied, listening to her explain - several times - her part in the ceremony, that of throwing flower petals on everyone.
The official arrived and was a definite presence in the room. She was a buxom woman with steel gray eyes and severely platted blond hair. Ah, the druid, Rodney thought, eyeing her flowing ice-blue robes. The couples stood in a semi-circle before "Birgit", with John and Rodney standing as witnesses behind them.
The ceremony began with the usual new age meme - before these witnesses… the creator and energy of the universe…their desire to renew… Rodney stifled a yawn as the first couple repeated their vows. Archer and Nathaniel were next and several times during their recitations, Rodney and John stole glances at one another.
When finally it was Jeannie and Kaleb's turn, Rodney made an effort to pay attention. Something, a tiny hand from the past perhaps, tugged at his heart. Jeannie looked so beautiful in her tee shirt, long camouflage skirt and bare feet. Her smile supplied the missing illumination in the candle-lit room, and he couldn't deny that Kaleb was the right partner for her, nor could he deny that deep down, he really liked him, despite his obviously retarded culinary tastes.
Jeannie and Kaleb repeated their vows:
I promise to love you, to respect you, to
I promise to be your confidante, always ready to share your hopes, dreams and secrets, through all the trials and tribulations of life, as well as the joyous times, caring for you in lifelong
I affirm this special bond and unique relationship that exists between us, and promise to keep it always alive.*
As Jeannie finished her last line, Rodney bowed his head; he felt the tears crawl across his cheek. He made a cavalier gesture to wipe them away before being seen, but it was too late.
Once the official had blessed the affirmations and everyone had kissed their respective partners, Jeannie motioned to
John sidled over to Rodney. Rodney braced himself for the good-natured ribbing he was sure would come, but John's look was laden with something that immediately formed a lump in Rodney's throat, and brushing his hand against Rodney's, all he said was, "That was kinda nice, huh?"
Rodney nodded, swallowing down the lump before joining the others in well wishing.
Somehow, Jeannie had managed to con Rodney into babysitting while she ran a few errands. John had the easy part, he made lunch and after washing up, sat down to read the newspaper. Rodney was fine as long as he and Madison were building with Legos or painting or even playing tic, tac, toe, at which, somehow, Madison managed to win every time, save one. However, when she wanted to switch to dolls, that's when he thought it was John's turn to help out.
He was shocked to see John get right down on the floor with her and pick up the dolls. He looked like he might have actually been having fun, and Rodney smiled when he heard him ask if she had any toy airplanes. Rodney went over to the bookcase, looking for something to occupy his mind. From the snatches of conversation that filtered through his concentration, he perceived that Maddie, John and the dolls were recreating the nuptial ceremony from the night before. Seconds later--
"Come on, Uncle Meredith,"
"I'm going to marry you," she said.
"Don't you think I'm a bit old for you, short stuff?" Rodney kidded her.
"No, I'm going to marry you and Uncle John," she said as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Rodney grinned. "You can't marry both of us."
"What she means," John interrupted, "is that she's going to marry us." Rodney caught that mischievous twinkle in his eyes, and it made him wonder just what sort of plotting had been going on while he wasn't paying attention.
"Like Mommy and Daddy, last night." Rodney looked at John, who just shrugged.
Once they were all situated to her liking,
"Hey, Mads, you couldn't make that Uncle 'Rodney' could you?"
She shook her head, huffed and started over. John smiled to himself.
"Sure we do," John said. He gathered up a huge stuffed giraffe and ZuZu,
She nodded her head, bouncing her blond curls, and began again. When they got to the vows, she made them answer after her.
"Uncle John, do you marry Uncle Meredith?"
"I do," he said.
"Do you promise to love and 'bait' him forever?"
"Uhm, I do," he grinned and tried to contain his snicker.
"Just as well," Rodney said under his breath, "it's not like you'd ever obey me anyway."
John snorted, "You got that right."
"Shhh!," she commanded. "Uncle Meredith, do you marry Uncle John?"
"Yes, I do."
"Do you promise to love and 'bait' him forever?"
"I most certainly do," Rodney said rocking on the balls of his feet.
John knelt down to her. "That was a wonderful ceremony,
She beamed at him and threw her arms around his neck. "I love you Uncle John," she said and gave him a little peck of a kiss.
"Hey, what about me, short stuff?" Rodney asked.
Rodney knelt down and smiled at her. Her frown disappeared and she flung her arms around him with such force, he almost fell over backwards.
"I love you, too, Uncle Meredith."
Rodney hugged her. "Me, too, short stuff-- me, too." She pulled back, her little hands resting on his broad shoulders.
"Stop calling me that," she whined, but before she could frown again, Rodney kissed the tip of her nose and, giggling, she kissed him back.
"Now," she said brightly, as if bossing her playmates, "you kiss!"
Rodney felt his face flush. He glanced up at John and noted the hey, I'm not touching that look. "But, um, boys don't usually kiss each other, Mads," he told her.
"Even if they're married?" John asked, grinning inanely, and Rodney gave him such a look.
"Yes they do," she retorted. "Mommy and Daddy's friends do. You have to, it's part of the cer'mony." She crossed her arms and looked like she might cry again. "Everybody did last night. You want it to be right, don't you?"
"Of course we do, Maddie," John said soothingly. "We want to do it right, don't we-- Meredith?" Rodney slowly stood up and cut his eyes at John.
"Yes, we want to do it right," he repeated through clenched teeth.
"And, everybody else did," John explained, as he leaned in, cupped Rodney's cheek, and kissed him. A chaste, tender kiss, brief, but brevity could not diminish the fullness of emotion it delivered, and as he started to pull away, Rodney kissed him back.
No one saw Jeannie standing in the doorway of the dining room, or Kaleb who had come in behind her. She clasped her hands to her heart, and as Kaleb squeezed her shoulder, a single tear fell over the apple of her cheek.
That night was their last for this visit, so dinner was a special occasion. John had convinced them all to let him and Rodney prepare the meal. Rodney agreed, with one caveat, the entire meal would be tofu-free, and that included any other form of imitation meat. Kaleb was wary, but conceded when John assured him there would be plenty of brown rice and organic veggies.
"I married Uncle John and Uncle Meredith today," Maddie announced during a lull in the dinner conversation.
Wanting it to remain their secret, Jeannie feigned ignorance. "You married them? But you're too young to get married, sweetie," she said, exchanging a glance with her brother.
"No, I mean I married them, a cer'mony like you and Daddy," she said in that tone of McKay exasperation. "They were sad because they didn't get to do it with you, Uncle Meredith cried, and so I married them, and they kissed and everything," she said, giggling into her hand.
Rodney felt the heat crawl up his neck, burning his ears. Nobody spoke right away, but all eyes darted around the table. He finally met his sister's gaze. She looked from him to John and clasping Kaleb's hand, she smiled and said, "I think that's wonderful."
* I found the words for the vows on the internet, they aren't mine, I just mushed them around in the that order.