Twelve Days

Elizabeth and Peter were standing beside the control station, trying to make sense of the new readings. They'd begun without any apparent input from anyone in the control room, and now Peter, Rodney and Radek were trying to cross-check what everyone else was working on, to see if something coincided with the control panel activity.

John had just come in and given her a head shake, letting her know that the Marines hadn't been doing anything new or unusual. He came over to stand beside them, and frowned down at the control panel. "I take it you haven't found anything?" he asked.

"Nothing. We don't even know what we're looking at." Elizabeth shook her head.

"Lots of pretty lights," Peter said, dryly.

"Well, maybe it's Christmas in Atlantis," John replied, giving them both a smirk.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "Maybe. But until we find a tree and presents under it, I'd like to keep exploring *other* theories."

John grinned, and nodded. Then he looked confused, and Elizabeth turned to see what had caught his attention. She stared as Carson came into the control room -- wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and yawning.

John hurried over to him, and Elizabeth could just hear him asking Carson what was up. Carson gave John a very sleepy look, and smiled.
Then he just walked past John, heading towards Elizabeth and Peter. John stepped up next to him, giving them an apologetic look, which Elizabeth just waved away. There wasn't anything particularly *wrong* with Carson being out of uniform, and from the glances he was getting from most everyone in the control room, she wasn't the only one who thought he looked adorable.

She squashed the evil idea of calling an emergency meeting at 5am sometime, just to see if he'd show up equally sleep-rumpled.

Carson came up to the control panel and reached out, tapping two of the buttons. The lights stopped and Carson yawned again, closing his eyes and leaning sideways against John. John immediately put his arm around him to hold him up.

"Carson? What--"

"What happened?" Rodney's voice came over the radio. "The lights just stopped."

"I know," Elizabeth responded, unable to tear her eyes away. Carson was practically snuggling into John's embrace, still on his feet but apparently willing to sleep there. "Carson came in and turned it off. We haven't found out why, yet."

"You haven't found out why? Has anyone tried *asking* him?"

Elizabeth rolled her eyes again at the sarcasm. "I was about to, when you called." She looked at Carson, who seemed rather... content.

"Hey, Carson," John said, nudging him when he didn't respond. There was a sleepy mutter, and John nudged him again. "Carson, wake up."


"Because we're in the middle of the control room, and Dr. Weir has a question for you."

There was a moment when it didn't look like Carson had heard. Then he slowly opened his eyes and lifted his head from John's shoulder.

"Carson, what did you do to the control panel?" John asked, speaking slowly and clearly.

"Turned it off," Carson said simply. He yawned again and rubbed his face.

"Why?" Elizabeth asked. "What *was* it?"

Carson dropped his head again and didn't answer. John poked him, but all he got was a sleepy mumble in return.

"What's going on?" Rodney asked, and Elizabeth saw him and Radek running up the stairs. "What is--" Rodney stopped as he caught sight of Carson, and he smiled with pure delight.

"Yeah, yeah," John said. "He's *heavy*."

"Why don't you wake him up, then?" Rodney asked, walking over to them. Carson seemed sound asleep, totally unaware of anything.

"I haven't had a chance."

"Mmmm. Carson," Rodney began, loudly. "Wake up. I refuse to have sex with you."

There was a pause, then Carson' head flew up and his eyes were wide open. "What?" Carson demanded. "What are you--" He stopped. He looked around. He glanced downwards at himself, then looked back up at Rodney. "That wasn't nice."

"And now you're awake. Answer our questions then we'll let John take you back home and put you to bed."

"What questions?"

"What was that you turned off?" Elizabeth asked.

Carson blinked at her, and she wondered if he even remembered what he'd done. Then he said. "The alarm?"

"It was an alarm?" Elizabeth looked at John, two seconds away from telling him to put the Marines on alert.

"Well, a reminder," Carson said, quickly. "Nothing wrong, just a calendar alarm."

"Calendar alarm?"

Carson nodded. "Went off because no one switched on the holiday protocols. The Ancients must have felt strongly about taking time off." He yawned again.

"What are the holiday protocols?" Elizabeth asked.

"Oh, just automated systems, so everyone can have a few days off." Carson took a deep breath, and for a moment he looked like he was about to be fully awake, and remember that he was standing in the control room in his boxers. Then he leaned against John, again, and closed his eyes.

"You mean... it really is Christmas?"

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