On the other hand, party at work. Was big fun.
My WiP list dramatically expanded through the snippet thing--you know what I mean. Where you think, oh, what a neat idea! And you write it down and then it's *just long enough* that you can't just toss it to the snippet bin of doom. I love my snippet bin of doom.
At this point, they don't even have titles, just indicators. Literally, this is how the poor things are saved to my harddrive.
1.) The Other One That Makes No Sense (SGA) - I am so literal on this. svmadelyn and chopchica's first comments included the follow: "huh?" "What?" and the ever inspiring "hmm". Yeah.
Rodney wakes up to John sitting on the edge of his bed. Full night on Atlantis, the room's lights up, low enough so no one outside could see them.
The infirmary scrubs are damp with sweat, peculiar dark stains crisscrossing in patterns that could almost be familiar if Rodney wanted to think about it. John's back is straight enough to pass for a ruler, hands steady on the gun in his lap. But the hazel eyes are hollowed out, black smudges like bruises beneath, cheekbones sharp, too visible beneath thin, infirmary-bleached skin.
"We have to go."
There's a second where everything stops--just for that second. Just then, Rodney can misunderstand and pretend that John's paranoid, that he's wrong, that he's as crazy as they say, when John's none of these things and never has been.
Then he gets over it and sits up.
He lets John urge him out of bed, into field gear, thigh holster strapped on, a second one going around his waist, two knives, a third gun hidden in his boot. John's patient and careful and fast, Rodney's packed duffle on the bed before Rodney even finishes lacing up his boots.
The silence says as much as the way John watches the door, eyes glazed and fixed. All his concentration is elsewhere, maybe, and Rodney tries not to think about what John's working on that keeps him so far away, even when Rodney slings the bag across his back and touches his shoulder.
John makes an aborted gesture, cutting him off. "Done. In the jumper."
Field work taught Rodney a lot about subtleness and quiet--John's taught him more. John knows the patrol schedule and the men who run them, knows which halls to avoid and which transporters to use, and Rodney knows what crystals to take, which ones to break, which wires to cross to make sure that they can't be followed. Every light they pass goes out.
They pack the ZPM in Rodney's shirts, beneath his laptop. It's lighter than he remembers.
In the hanger, John is still too far away to find, and Rodney glances back at the closed door of the hanger, the angry red of the lock that John's set. "Are you--"
"Every door," John says shortly, and Rodney hadn't known he could *do* that, and maybe, John hadn't either. "I need you to--" He frowns, forehead creasing in concentration. "The control room--"
Rodney unpacks laptop and links it up to the jumper. "On it."
It's surreally normal, like going on a mission, except John's pale and starting to shake. Somewhere out there are people who are beginning to wonder why the city is shutting down around them. Rodney taps in his codes and watches the city appear before him in lines of binary. It's the easiest thing Rodney's ever done. "We have five minutes."
John's voice is flat. "All right."
The jumper responds like it knows John's urgency--they're in the gate room and Rodney can imagine the confusion, even if he can't see it. Radek's on already--they'd been anticipated, maybe, so not a surprise--and Rodney lets himself enjoy the challenge. Radek's almost as good as he is.
Just not quite good enough.
Rodney leans over enough to reach the dial, tapping in the six symbols automatically, and the gate flares to life in a haze of gleaming blue, like the Atlantean ocean. Rodney can't imagine never seeing it again.
Elizabeth's voice on the jumper radio cuts through his thoughts. "What are you doing, Sheppard?"
John's hands falter on the controls, and Rodney moves fast, flipping it off. "Colonel. *Colonel*." So close, and Radek's catching up, catching fast, and even Rodney can't keep them jammed forever. When the wide hazel eyes, dark and utterly open, meet his, Rodney forces down the sympathy. "Go."
John's eyes clear abruptly, and the jumpers' going through the wormhole.
Rodney doesn't breathe until it's closed behind them.
Just to be sure, they go through eighteen wormholes before John lets them rest.
2. The One I Need to Read Up on Temporal Mechanics For - seriously, I don't know what the hell is going on with this one, except I finally get to play with Chaya, and seriously, so want to do that *so much*.
They aren't allowed to see him, just a taped message on something even fifties earth would have laughed at, short and breathtakingly brisk. It's not personal. It tells them he was thinking even then, tells them where his files are and how to access them, what to give to Caldwell, what to destroy, what to tell Elizabeth and Lorne, and what to tell his men.
Finally, it tells them goodbye.
It isn't personal, the last words of a commander, not a friend, but Ronon stares at the clunky box with wide, unseeing eyes, and Teyla hasn't moved from her chair, hands clenched on her own thighs so hard Rodney thinks of bruising.
Rodney thinks that he just listened, then took the box when they opened the door two hours later, and led them to the Stargate, dialing with numb fingers and going through, seeing Elizabeth first, Lorne a step behind her, so pale that Rodney doesn't know how she keeps her feet.
Teyla drops her gun with a sound that makes the gate room flinch, but Rodney barely hears it over the roar in his ears, making all the voices a mindless babble, like the hum of circuits. Carson is walking toward him, eyes red and wiping at his nose, all confident doctor except for the fact his hands shake so badly that he's shaking Rodney even as he tried to take a pulse.
"I'm fine," Rodney hears himself say, and it's mostly true, two days of no food and no water notwithstanding. "Fine, fine, I need to get this--" He fumbles the box, watching numbly as the rumpled uniform hits the floor, the weapons and knives and assorted paraphernalia of a soldier, belt falling out with a thump that seems to shake the room, the first sound he's heard for hours, crystal sharp and bright.
Elizabeth stops short, Lorne just catching himself before he runs into her, hand on her elbow when she staggers.
Rodney pulls out the recorder and hits the button and keys his radio at the same time; if he had to hear this, if he and Teyla and Ronon had had to listen, and know, then, then--
"Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, US Air Force," and it's a terrible analog reproduction; ten minutes, and Rodney could have made something better of it, something that would sound more like John than the tinny, too-high voice did. "They gave me five minutes, so I'd better hurry. Here's what I need you to know."
It was four and a half, because John had no sense of time, and his voice is steady through it all, like he's giving orders on an ordinary day in Atlantis, all about what needed to be done, what to keep, what to throw away, a deeply impersonal message that could have been anytime and nothing like any last words at all.
At the end, there's a catch, the one that sent Teyla to her feet and Ronon's fist into the wall of the small cell they'd been kept in, rock powdering around bloody knuckles. Rodney remembers watching and thinking that he'd break his hand trying that, barely aware that John's dogtags were cutting into his palm like a dull knife.
He doesn't even remember it hurting, but he remembers that catch of voice, hearing John shift, and his voice drop.
"Everything's going to be okay. See you."
The recording tape goes on, with the sounds of other people coming in, John standing up, and a low-voiced directive to turn off the recorder. Rodney shuts his eyes for a second.
When Rodney opens them again, he's in the infirmary, bright lights in his face, time moving normally with voices and crying and someone yelling in his ear. It takes him a while to realize it's him.
That's when he starts to throw up.
The thing is, the thing that wakes Rodney up six hours later in the infirmary, John didn't get away.
It bothers him, enough to drag his ass out of bed and unhook the IV, tearing the paper-thin sheet with his teeth and wrapping it around the messy hole he left in his skin, finding his clothes and shoes and jerking them on, still smelling of underground cells and sweat. It bothers him, because when they walked through that door, both of them lit it up, and John had somehow *known*, that freakish instinct for how things could go from trade negotiations to death camp in four and a half seconds. The time it took for John to be dragged away and Rodney, Teyla, and Ronon held at gunpoint while they pushed him onto a bench and dropped something into his lap that lit up like Christmas.
The time it took for John to distract them when they were taken back through the door, so the door way was lit again, and Rodney's gene didn't reveal him, too.
The halls are deathly quiet, like even Atlantis knows something's wrong, tremendously off, because if Rodney's honest, he really didn't think anyone would survive Pegasus, but it also never occurred to him that John would actually die.
That he would die like that, in a red haze of guided radiation, a slow, painful way to die that took three endless hours that Rodney can barely remember. And for a crime that had been committed ten thousand years before he'd even been *born*.
He goes to his quarters to shower and change, goes to John's quarters, then his lab, booting up John's laptop and hooking it into the interface, backing it up on the mainframe under enough security to hide it from anyone who looks, then wipes it clean. Caldwell can start from fucking *scratch*, and the one John has in what passes for his office has all Atlantis related data on it anyway.
Afterward, he hears Teyla's footsteps, and Ronon's just behind her. As exhausted, as wired, as angry as he feels. They're dressed and showered and still so angry, and Rodney follows them to John's quarters, because this is something that they need to do themselves.
Rodney can't even open the first dresser without almost breaking his knuckles on the edge when his hands shake too badly. "They'll never use that gate again," he hears himself say, and Teyla looks up from folding up the blankets, eyes wide and understanding. It would be easy; they don't even have a gate shield. Elizabeth could have ordered in the marines and hadn't, diplomacy hadn't worked, and John was dead because he'd been born with the wrong gene at the wrong time. "I could do that."
It would be easy, and Rodney stares at the top of the dresser and thinks, unlikely and impossible scenarios running through his head, like Elizabeth would *let* him, let them. That's not what we are, she'd say, that's not who we are, Rodney, we don't, we can't, we aren't, and she's right, they aren't.
But this is what they are. too, human, too angry to think and too tired to fight and far too bitter to be logical. He lets Teyla pull him to John's bed and sit him down, lets himself close his eyes and remember the way John looked when he stepped through that door, smiling and confident and sure. Lets him remember the last time they saw him, an awkward sprawl after throwing himself out the door so that when Rodney went through, the light wouldn't betray him, too, the sound of his head on the ground when they slammed him down, and the blood that Rodney was walked through to leave.
"Rodney," he hears himself say hoarsely, leaning against her shoulder. "We're at a place where first names are appropriate. I should--get to work." He doesn’t know what he'd do--play minesweeper and lose, or maybe break something valuable just because he can, discover a new subatomic particle. It should feel worse. It should feel real. It should feel--
Ronon's on Teyla's other side, and Rodney looks at the closed eyes, the fragile, stubborn line of his mouth, trying to put it in perspective. His team leader is dead. The commander of the Atlantis military is dead. His--friend is dead.
John's dead, and he can feel Teyla's shoulders shake, tiny shivers that are all she'll let herself, and Rodney can't even see Ronan through his hair.
"He was not supposed to die," Ronan says, voice slow and thoughtful, each word careful as laying a stone on a bridge.
And it's strange to think like that, because Rodney always thinks they're going to die, but this time, he hadn't, not until they were brought the clothes and the recording, not until they were led out into bright noonday sunlight and watched them carry the body--the just-recognizable, too-thin, irradiated remains, and God, the words they use for that--and watched it immolate to protect the village from radiation exposure.
"No," Rodney breathes, and Teyla's arm slides around him, warm and steady. "He shouldn't have."
3. The One With the Spaceships - I just like things that go really, really fast.
The problem is, they lose Sheppard and Ronan fifteen minutes in.
Teyla's mostly amused, but Rodney's already half-way through a complex plot involving the Genii, missing Colonels, and a Secret Weapon that will doubtless destroy Atlantis and possibly the entirety of the galaxy. Trying to explain to Teyla they need to go back for reinforcements *right now* before the universe ends does not go well.
"Perhaps you are overreacting, Dr. McKay," she says, but her eyes are telling him that her next tea with Dr. Weir will have this conversation replayed verbatim, possibly involving Heightmeyer. "It is a market. They wish to look at what is on offer. Perhaps--"
"They've been kidnapped by evil aliens." Or good, misled ones. It came to the same thing. Rodney's also aware he's not had coffee in two days, which could account for a lot of his irritability.
"We will look for them," Teyla says indulgently, hefting her pack higher on her back. It carries the equivalent of her weight in supplies. Rodney almost feels a need to offer to take it from her, but he can live without her level look of amusment if he tries. She can carry *him* without breaking a sweat.
Shifting his own, considerably smaller pack, Rodney glances down the stalls, trying to work out what would attract Sheppard enough to vanish into thin air.
Of course, ten steps later, it's pretty obvious. Even Teyla comes to a dead stop.
"I did not see these earlier," she says slowly, but Rodney's already way ahead of her, because there's Sheppard, looking like he just discovered God, orgasms, and intergalactic ferris wheels all in one day. He's also standing as straight as Rodney's ever seen, and Rodney hadn't known that Sheppard's back could *stay* that way. Ronon's marginally less entranced, but probably only because he does stoic like a lifestyle choice, so….
"Colonel?" Rodney says, coming up just behind them. "Colonel Sheppard?"
"Short-burst hyperdrive, ftl and sublight speed, atmospheric, vacuum and plasmic capabilities." Sheppard murmurs, obviously not having heard a word Rodney said. "It can fly through a *star* and not even change *temperature*. Integrated weapons on the main board, primary defensive station, secondary defense grid, primary, secondary and *tertiary shields*--"
"Drone cannons," Ronon says reverently, and Rodney fights the urge to knock them both upside the head. Barely. "Five thousand klick range."
"Compatiable with ZPM power and Ancient technology, mental interface--" Sheppard's breaht catches in a sound that woudn't be out of place in a very, very sleazy porn movie. A very gay porn movie. It's odd, Rodney thinks, shifting his legs a little further apart; Sheppard can make *anything* sound like the beginning of foreplay. "Tricked out with a limited AI and easily upgradable, backwards compatiable with earlier models, *Christ*, are those--"
Ronon growls softly. "Yes." The moment officially moves from surreal to creepy. "We must have this ship."
Sheppard nods dreamily, and Rodney sees a small, smug looking woman watching them with dollar signs in her eyes. "It makes the Daedelus look like a Kia Rio." John slowly begins to circle the ship, eyes huge and filled with the kind of passion one might usually feel on, say, their wedding day. "It's light, it's fast, it's--"
"Weirdly," Rodney says, because there's a really horrifyign chance something will go terribly, terribly wrong if this goes where he thinks it's going, which would be the negotiation table, "that's not why we are here. Colonel?"
Sheppard turns around, for all the world like *he had no idea Rodney was there*, and wow, is that annoying or what? "McKay?"
It's even more annoying that not once do Sheppard's eyes leave the ship. "Trading? Coffee beans? Food? *Our only hope for avoiding starvation?* Any of this ring a bell?"
4. The One With John's Memory Problems - I think this is my crackfic. It's completely nonlinear, and one day, I need to sit down and organize it a little, since I just add a section every time I get bored. On the other hand--amnesia! It never stops being fun.
That one time, they brought him back and dropped him on the floor.
They 'd gotten careless, and John had paid attention.
Rodney, curled on the bed, watched the hazel eyes slit open, too-limp body suddenly furious motion, and the next thing he saw was the twist of a broken body at John's feet.
For a second, Rodney thought he should feel something--even here, even now, he shouldn't be able to watch that, see that, and not care. John's smile was as sharp and bright as a knife, even as a punch slammed him into the far wall, the broken body dragged out, the door shut tight only seconds before John was there, staring at it like will alone could open it.
A few long seconds pass, then John staggered, all the energy burned away like the death of a star, and Rodney moved then, catching him before he fell. The angular body didn't stiffen, and Rodney breathed out at the hazel eyes that looked into his.
He lay down on the bed when Rodney put him there, and let Rodney wipe away the drying blood from his nose, eyes closed, almost relaxed, could have fooled anyone who wans't Rodney, who had seen everything else and now saw this, too.
"Next time, it'll be both of them," John whispered, catching Rodney's fingers. "Lay down."
It's not like he needed the encouragement. John was warm and careful, winding around Rodney like a vine, the hands that had broken a man's neck gentle on his stomach, his back, mouth soft and warm and tasting vaguely of blood.
"We have to get out."
John opened his eyes, and Rodney could feel the shift, like John in the chair, all senses heightened and shifted, focused. "I never thought of that."
It's twelve by twelve feet, and Rodney knew every inch. "Don't be an asshole."
"I’m always an asshole." The thread of uncertainty beneath the humor cut Rodney to the heart, but he pushed it aside. "You have something specific in mind?"
Jesus. "You're the tactician! I'm the miracle worker. You say, do impossible things, and I'll do them."
For a second, John seemed to freeze. "The East Continent rebellion's gone. A tactical strike against three of their major cities vaporized most of the lakes they depend on for farming. Kind of killed their interest in rebellion. Much less time." John's eyebrows raised ironically. "I'm very, very good at tactics."
And fuck. "That's not what I meant." Coming back to the cot, Rodney sat down, pressing careful fingers against John's wrist, feeling the heightened pulse. "And you know it."
John didn't answer, eyes glazing. "No, I don't."
"You don't need--there's more to you than memory. There's more to a person than memory." Rodney hadn't believe in the nonsense of souls until now, not until they brought John back and everything was stripped away but this. "Who you are--"
"A unique collection fo memories and/or experiences create a *person*, Rodney." The sudden increase in pulse, dark eyes dilating to slivers of hazel around endless black, was better than mindreading. "Whatever I am--whatever--"
"You're still you."
John was quiet for a moment. "I haven't slept in two days."
Rodney dragged in a breath, coming to a stop. "Last night--"
"You know, I think they're playing now." John's voice was thoughtful, rolling slowly onto his back to stare at the ceiling. For the first time tonight--and God, how could Rodney have *missed* that--he could see the fine tension, like a wire drawn too tight, watiing to snap. "It starts with hallcuinations, heightened aggression, paranoia--"
"Like I am now, just less rational. Why would they do that?"
Just to see. Like lab rats. Rodney took another breath, coming back to the bed.
"Maybe," John said slowly, like he was tasting the words, "you shouldn't come too close."
Rodney sat down firmly. "If you wanted to kill me, I don't think ten feet of cell would stop you. If you don't, it doesn't matter where I am, I'll be safe."
John looked at him with raised eyebrows. "Were you this stupid when I knew you before?"
Rodeny almost smiled. "You aren't getting points for that. We'll figure this out."
They did, eventually.
5.) The One I Did For chopchica for Instructional - no redeeming value whatsoever, I just wanted to see if I could mirror Instructional as a complete story from Rodney's POV. So didn't work. But. Too many pages to discard, dammit.
Rodney actually feels the second his temper snaps.
Nothing like being able to search and destroy in the lab, complete with tantrums and yelling and glorious, glorious *release*. No, this is completely different, and it settles, slow and thick at the pit of his stomach, eating up everything but *intent*.
Across from him, Zelenka is bolt-straight and utterly still, fork suspended midair. Three tables away, the group of new military have no idea they'd just fucked themselves over so epically that poems would be written about this day, no idea at *all* that there are some things you shouldn't say in the middle of a mess hall no matter how alone you think you are.
And no matter how little you think of the two exhausted scientists sitting only a few feet away.
Zelenka slowly lowers his fork back to his plate. "You hear, yes?"
Rodney licks his lips and pushes his tray away. That may be the first time in his life he's left a meal half-eaten. "Ten minutes. In the lab."
Zelenka stands up, picking up his tray, while Rodney watches the group, laughing at whatever that moron just said, then stands up, thoughtfully considering all the myriad weapons at his disposal.
They won't know what hit them.
A few weeks ago, Rodney got drunk with John Sheppard.
It had been enlightening. John was the most self-contained person Rodney had ever met, but alcohol is alcohol, and the loose sprawl of long limbs on the rug of Rodney's quarters had been enlightening in more ways than the amusement value of John reciting the periodic table fo the elements backwards, just for the fun of it.
Rodney can say with all honesty that if a hundredth of the people he'd met in his life had been like John, he'd be a lot more amenable to social events. John was as bright as a starry night and talked so fast that Rodney found himself silenced, for once, fascinated by the way John could flip from topic to topic without a breath or a thought, a stream of consciousness that just took seven shots of Athosian moonshine and a promotion.
It was like a completely different person. It was like someone he'd waited to meet all his life.
Rodney sat with the bed against his back and the bottle between his legs, wondering how on earth he could have missed this before now.
Sheppard looks wary and amused both, which argues that he really doesn't know yet, and Rodney has no intention of enlightening him. "Don't you have enough people in your own department to torture, McKay?"
"I need the practice on those of lesser intelligence." Leaning back, Rodney subtly flicks his screensaver on. "Don't tell me you're objecting. Because that would be stupid."
"I like my shower the way it is, thanks." But he doesn't leave, leaning into Rodney's desk and taking up far too much space, arms crossed, hazel eyes narrowd in thought. "Let's keep it clean, though?"
Rodney tilts his head, watching Sheppard searching his face. He's getting better at hiding. "I'll be good. Now if you'll excuse me--"
They didn't make the connection immediately, which annoys Rodney beyond his limited patience, but on the other hand, it gives him the opportunity to delegate the more mundane malfunctions to the new recruits, who flinch in submission enough to appease his surface temper. Sheppard keeps out of it, and the veteran Atlantis personnel settle down when they get that they aren't the focus. A few even get why, which makes it a lot easier to get things moving.
"They're stupid," Zelenka says quietly, and Rodney jerks his gaze up. "They talk. Stupid things. Loudly. Enough for others to hear."
Rodney tilts his head up. Politics aren't anything new, but the added complication of semi-isolation is. "Do people believe it?"
Zelenka shrugs helplessly, but Rodney sees the reflection of his own anger. "I do not know. I do not think so, but it is--gossip, yes? Too easy to tell, even if it is not believed. Laughed over. Spread."
"That's enough." And it is. Rumors are rarely true, but that doesn't make them any less deadly. On top of Caldwell's hostility--though he's looking a little less smug since the incident with his chair-- "Are they saying it directly to him? Or to her?"
Zelenka breathes out thoughtfully. "I do not think so." Though Elizabeth has to know, has to have known the second she laid down her ultimatum. Sheppard--Rodney can think of few, other than Bates, who might try to back down Sheppard. Other than himself, of course. Cowards, every one of them. "The Major Lorne--"
Rodney bites down. "He's going to be a problem."
Zelenka pauses, looking unhappy. "Colonel Sheppard came by. To borrow drinks."
That's Sheppard, everyone's best friend, thinking that a little chat and charm could solve any and all problems. It's amazing, how he can be the quintissential soldier in every way, but honest to God believe that the people he worked with, the people under his command, had that same honor. Sheppard wouldn't believe a rumor, never listen to one, not care if he heard, never use it as a weapon.
Rodney's been in academia for most of his life, and worked for the military almost half. He's not that naïve.
"How long ago?"
There's a second where Rodney thinks about shorting out the entire hall. Leave the asshole locked in his quarters for a few days. It's a new wing, and the power conduits could easily overload. No one would know. No one would even *guess*.
Sheppard's perfectly still outside the Major's quarters, eyes fixed expressionlessly on the wall.
And Rodney takes out the energy scanner. A few quick adjustments, a minute, two tops, and Major Asshole could enjoy some quality sensory deprivation time.
"Need something, McKay?"
But that wouldn't take care of the problem, just delay it. Rodney makes himself snap his scanner closed, thinking quickly. He's always at his best under pressure. "While you're lounging around drinking yourself into unconsciousness, I was getting some work done. I need an ATA gene to bring up some of the new wings we're opening. You're it."
Sheppard gives him an irritated look. "You have one of your own."
"You say that like I should care." Get Sheppard out of this hall, one, because is Lorne in for a miserable night and it starts the second Rodney gets Zelenka on the radio. Distract him, two, or he just might start thinking, and Rodney can't afford for him to do that quite yet. "Chop chop, Major. I don't have all night."
Sheppard fights a smile. "Colonel." Sheppard pushes away from the wall, all loose-limbed relaxation. He's known Sheppard too long to be fooled. The set of his shoulders say everything. "Are you ever going to remember?"
"I only bother with important things. Now be useful and help me get the system up, would you?"
Rodney drops into his chair and opens his laptop, giving Zelenka a quick glance. "Okay, new plan."
Zelenka stares at him for a second.
"Don't even try. I want him broken."
The thing about a successful campaign is making sure you not only crush the opposition, but also run them into the ground enough to never, ever consider rebellion again. The old personnel get it--Rodney's quick refresher course made sure of that--but the new ones are just waking up to it.
"This is getting ridiculous."
And it would have to be Bates, who so far, is the least likely to just let it slide. Rodney takes a look around, noting that his department already made a run for cover. He really, really doesn't have time for this.
"I'd need an actual *subject* to understand that sentence, Sergeant. Can you form a complete sentence, maybe one that makes *sense*?"
Bates stiffens, giving Rodney one of his more impressive glares, but Sheppard does that pretty much daily and you get a certain level of immunity from that. Rodney tries not to roll his eyes.
"Sheppard may be soft enough to let you fuck around with the personnel, McKay, but I'm not. This has got to stop."
Pretending he has no idea what Bates is talking about won't work--after all, there are Marines involved, and hell, it's not like Rodneys' going for plausible deniability here. There's a very real thrill in them *knowing* who is enjoying how very much their lives are screwed. "Tell them to keep their mouths shut, I won't have to handle it."
Bates' eyes narrow. "What? They hurt your feelings, McKay?"
"No, they say things they really shouldn't."
Bates isn't impressed. "Mouthing off about the civilian contingent--"
"About the Colonel and Dr. Weir."
Bates stops short, eyes widening. Yes, he's got to know. "Who?"
Rodney leans back. "We've got it covered, so if you don't mind--"
"We're *handling* it. You can't, Sheppard won't, because he's stupid enough to think that it'll go away on it's own." Sheppard believes his actions speak more than words ever could. They do, and in time, if it takes cold showers, bad food, and an accidental electrocution or two, the new personel will believe it, too. "We can't afford that kind of talk here, and you know as well as I do that the second Weir comes down on any of them--"
Bates' eyes flicker. "Yeah."
Rodney waits a second. "Anything else? Becuase I'm kind of busy here, saving the world."
Bates' eyes glitter for a second, almost amused. "Carry on."
*sighs* One day, something is going to be finished. *Something*. Eventually.