"Ancient 101"

 

by Grey Lupous

 

Summary: Elizabeth tries to teach the expedition a little Ancient. Try being the key word here.


Author's Notes: A discussion on Teyla's linguistic abilities somehow inspired this (okay the phrase "Ancient 101" inspired it, but hey, same difference).

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

"Now, if you notice, the verb iaceo means 'to lie prostrate or dead', and iacio means 'to throw or hurl'. If you aren't paying attention, you might have a very interesting translation, but it would be wrong and potentially dangerous."

 

"Or potentially hilarious," Sheppard leant forward, whispering into Ford's ear.

 

The Lieutenant covered his smile with a hand, and leaned forward so he could pay attention, and stay out of trouble. One seat over and up from Sheppard, McKay sent a stern "Pay attention!" glare in his direction. The major smiled and waved, in which the scientist just huffed and pointedly turned his attention back to the front of the room where Weir was speaking.

 

It had been decided that every expedition member should have at least some grasp on the Ancient language, as it was prevalent all over Atlantis and most of the Pegasus Galaxy as well. Teyla sat at the front of the room, busily taking notes. The Athosians spoke the language through prayers, but the actual grammar and writing system was new to her. Next to her he could see Dr. Zelenka sitting up, paying perfect attention. Suck up.

 

Ford had mentioned something about "no habla antiguo" before they started, but seemed to be paying some attention to the lesson. Before they started McKay had proudly declared that he knew enough to teach the class, in a voice quiet enough to not attract Weir's attention. However Sheppard spotted the scientist scribbling something down every now and then when he thought no one was looking.

 

And John?

 

John was bored out of his skull. He jammed a hand into his pocket as Weir started teaching the various forms of conjugation depending on what tense. It all reminded him too much of his days in high school where he had to listen to Mrs. Jones drone on ad nauseum in German. He smothered a yawn with the pretense of a soft cough. God, this hour was going to kill him before the Wraith or the Genii ever would.

 

He glanced at his half-empty cup of water, wishing for the world it was something stronger. John Sheppard was not a grammar man, nor would he ever be. His eyes focused on the straw he had pilfered from the mess, mainly because it seemed to irritate McKay. Something about laziness and expending the energy to pick up a cup. He hadn't really been listening; it was a habit with Rodney, one of pure self-preservation. He zeroed in on the straw, an evil, juvenile thought forming in the back of his mind.

 

Keeping one eye on Weir he plucked the straw from its resting place, then slowly and very quietly tore a piece of paper from his notepad. She continued to drone on. And on. And on. In no time at all Sheppard had a small cache of ammo built up on his desk, and cast his gaze about the room for a target. He could try and hit the palm sensor to the door and to freedom. Perhaps if Weir thought there was a malfunction she would dismiss this hour of slow-torture early. John could also aim for the window, another avenue of freedom, and maybe spell out an 'SOS' to the Athosians on the mainland. Or...

 

Sheppard's gaze settled on an alternative target, and he couldn't keep an evil smile from taking over. Oh yes. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

 

Bringing his straw to bear, he took aim, and then fired.

 

The spit wad hit McKay in the back of the neck, sticking to the skin. From his vantage point, John could see the scientist's eyes widen in comic revulsion before he whipped his head around to stare at his attacker. John smiled ferally and raised his straw again.

 

Rodney pointed an angry finger at the officer in an attempt to forestall the next attack, but it just gave Sheppard something else to aim at. Rodney let out a sickened gasp and quickly flung the spit wad off his finger right onto Ford.

 

The marine had a similar reaction, and after safely disposing of the offensive object, turned an annoyed glare onto Rodney, who simply pointed back in John's direction.

 

Sheppard ignored Ford's confused look and instead fired off a volley of spit wads at McKay. Rodney brought up an arm to shield his face, effectively blocking the projectiles, but also covering his jacket with the things.

 

Weir, in the throes of Ancient conjugation, did not seem notice the sudden commotion.

 

Mentally, Sheppard let out a maniacal cackle as he prepared the next round of fire. Rodney, quickly realizing that Atlantis's military commander had lost his mind, prepared a defense, taking his stack of papers and crumpling them up into tiny little cannon balls.

 

Sheppard fired off the next round, which McKay deflected again, and lobbied return fire. Surprisingly the scientist had decent aim, and the paper ball bounced off of Sheppard's forehead.

 

"That's it!" He mouthed to the scientist, scooping up a handful of the tiny wads that he had assembled.

 

Rodney's eyes widened, and just as Sheppard unleashed the next round of fire, ducked out of his chair, grabbing an armful of his paper balls. Sheppard kept up a steady stream of fire that had McKay dancing around the room trying to dodge and return fire at the same time.

 

John grabbed the rest of his ammunition, having to abandon his post as well to avoid being hit. So single-minded was his focus, he didn't seem to notice that Weir had stopped her lesson, or in fact that the entire room was staring. He dodged another incoming shot from McKay, and finally caught sight of Weir glaring, eyes fixed straight on him. He dropped the rest of his ammunition and quickly hid the straw behind his back. Out of the corner of his eye he could see McKay go suddenly still as well.

 

She didn't say anything, just raised an eyebrow at both of them. John plastered on the most innocent expression he could muster, and with a straight face he used his free hand to point to Rodney.

 

"He started it."

 

McKay's mouth flopped open. "I did not!"

 

Weir pressed her lips into a thin line and her brow scrunched up in vehement disapproval. Rodney and John exchanged nervous glances, and slowly returned to their seats. She stared at them for a few more long moments, before returning to her lesson. Thoroughly chastised Sheppard stared ahead, determined not to attract any more attention to himself. In front of him, he could see Ford's shoulders bunched up, shaking in silent laughter.

 

John petulantly slouched down in his seat, eyes drifting down as a folded sheet of paper was slid under his seat. With a glance at Weir, he considered bending down to pick it up, but she was casting a glance in his direction every few seconds. Not one to be dissuaded by little things such as the fury of a linguist interrupted, he slid the paper across the ground with his foot until it reached the chair leg. From there he used his boot to hike it up the chair's leg until he could grab it with his hand. Curious, he looked about the room but everyone was staring straight ahead.

With a shrug, he opened up the paper to find a note


Major

 

Rematch. Jumper Bay. Tonight.

 

No witnesses.

 

He recognized the chicken scratch writing as McKay's, and looked up to see the scientist stealing a peek back. He inclined his head, accepting the challenge. Now all he had to do was make it through the rest of the hour. Up at the front of the room, Weir continued to drone on, entirely too excited about the past imperfect tense.

 

His gaze fell back to his notepad, and couldn't stop the grin that spread across his face.

 

 

~ Fin ~

 

 

Ancient 101