Following The Common Room and The Sleeping Room.
So the plan begins to take shape. With food.
Teyla blinks her bemusement at the sight of Ronon and Dr. McKay slumped over one of the mess hall tables. Frowning, she stops as John leans over, shaking Dr. McKay's shoulder. "McKay," he says, "up and adam. You okay?"
Blearily, Dr. McKay opens one eye, mouth already opening in his usual protest on being awakened--Teyla has vivid memories of the one and only time she tried such a thing, and since has left it to John. Then his face changes, and he straightens so abruptly she wonders if he's hurt his back. Grimacing, he winces, hand going to his head. "Jo--Sheppard," he says, sounding--strange. "Hi. Good night?"
John sits down, looking amused as he takes his sunglasses from his jacket pocket. Reaching over, he settles them on Dr. McKay. "Better than yours, I'm thinking. What did you two get up to?"
Dr. McKay groans. "Poisoned vodka."
John nods sympathetically, mouth twitching. "You gonna be okay today?"
Dr. McKay reaches up, stroking his fingers over the glasses. "Probably going to die but hey, at least the Wraith--" Dr. McKay stops short, and Teyla watches as his face changes, going--soft? Teyla sits down, noting that Ronon hasn't so much as stirred, and neither of them have touched their full trays. "You should eat," she says, reaching to push the tray over to him.
McKay blanches. "No. Oh no--no, those are for you." Turning slightly, Dr. McKay gets the tray beside him and shoves it in front of Sheppard. "Breakfast. Your favorites."
John blinks, looking down with a bewildered expression. Teyla recognizes the muffins and the eggs and bacon, but the rest is a mystery. "Uh. Thanks, McKay."
Dr. McKay beams, then glances at Ronon with a scowl. Elbowing him once, he looks at Teyla for an uncertain second, then stands up, reaching over Ronon and sliding the other tray in front of her. Something bright red plops into her lap. Picking it up, she studies the fruit. "For you. From Ronon. He picked it all himself. Things you'd like. Right, Ronon?" Another elbow. Ronon grunts, lifting his head slightly to peer at them with bloodshot eyes.
"Wish I were dead." Head dropping back down, Ronon mumbles something about evil scientists, but that is no different than any evening he has spent in Dr. McKay's company.
John, looking bemused, picks up his knife. "Vodka--does that. McKay, they have *crumpets* here?"
Dr. McKay beams. "They got them, just for you. You like them, right?"
Teyla watches as Sheppard slowly spreads butter and some kind of preserved fruit on the flat cakes. Sheppard takes a wary bite, hazel eyes widening, and he licks his lips afterward. Teyla notices that Rodney's eyes don't leave Sheppard's mouth once. "These are--Rodney, why--"
"No why. We have a busy day," Dr. McKay says, getting what appears to be a fair size gourd and drinking from it. From the smell, Teyla assumes it's coffee. A lot of coffee. "Lots to do, you know."
John doesn't stop eating, but he does raise an eyebrow in inquiry; these 'crumpets' must be quite good. Teyla reaches for one and is surprised by the swift slap of Dr. McKay's hand. "You have fruit," Dr. McKay says, giving her a look that speaks of many things. One of them will involve her sticks and his legs, she mulls. Rubbing her hand, Teyla takes a bite of the red fruit and almost forgives him. It is delicious.
John frowns. "You're acting--odd," he says slowly, but he doesn't offer her a crumpet, and Teyla thinks about their next practice with anticipation. "Hangover that bad?"
Dr. McKay beams at them both, elbow slamming into Ronon, who glares back but finally pushes his hair from his face. He looks worse than Dr. McKay. "We have a plan," he says happily, taking another drink of coffee. "For the day."
John finishes the first crumpet and reaches for a second under Dr. McKay's approving eye. Teyla watches as Dr. McKay elbows Ronon again, getting him just below the armpit. For a moment, Teyla worries she will have to intervene; Ronon seems to have forgotten that Dr. McKay is not a Wraith. But no: he freezes as Dr. McKay stares at him, mouthing something before turning back to them. With a sigh and a wince, Ronon looks at Sheppard, lips stretching in a smile that reminds her of a corpse. "McKay's really--a great guy," he says, like the words hurt him in some way. Mystified, Teyla picks up another piece of the delicious red fruit. "He had this great idea of what we could do today. If you want."
Something under the table shifts and Ronon goes pale and unhappy. "You'll want to," he says in a strained voice. "It's going to be great. I’m gonna go throw up now." Getting to his feet, Ronon leaves the mess hall so quickly that Marines throw themselves from his path. Glancing at John, she sees him making his way steadily through more food than she's ever seen him consume in a single sitting while Dr. McKay watches with look that almost seems--possessive.
Frowning, she returns to her fruit.
It is quite good.
"Oh," John says, eyes wide as they climb from the red car that Rodney acquired--something called a Mustang that made John extremely pleased, though it does not compare to puddlejumpers in the least. Curiously, Teyla forces the seat forward so she can get out, frowning at Dr. McKay, who for some reason leaned against it for far too long while John stared at something he called a 'carnival'.
"It is very bright," she says uncertainly. Ronon comes up beside her, arm brushing hers as he leans against the door. Dr. McKay turns around, shooting her a look that makes her wish for her sticks, before he gives Ronon a look laden with meaning. Turning away, he rests a hand on John's shoulder, standing too close considering that there is much space around them.
"There's a Ferris wheel," Dr. McKay points out, guiding John toward the dizzying array of booths. She has seen large trade gatherings, but nothing like this. "A tilt-a-whirl, a roller-coaster--"
"Wow." John grins at McKay. "How'd you find it?"
"Someone mentioned it," Rodney says casually. Teyla thinks of the four hour drive and winces. "Cotton candy?"
John nods, eyes glazing peculiarly as he allows Dr. McKay to guide him to the front, where they will apparently purchase their admission. Following them, Teyla notices that Ronon lags behind and matches her steps to his as John and Dr. McKay go in. "Ronon, we will lose them if we do not hurry."
Ronon makes an unhappy sound; the car ride was difficult for him, as he was folded quite tightly in the back seat. She wonders why he did not insist on the front one. "Enjoying--the day," he says. Frowning, Teyla sees Dr. McKay and John begin to disappear into the crowds of people and grabs Ronon's arm.
"Come," she says firmly. Something odd is going on, and she wants to know what it is.
Dr. McKay does not seem pleased to see them when they finally locate them beside what must be the 'cotton candy'. "This is great," John enthuses, pulling off a fluffy pink--cloud? Putting it in his mouth, he looks around. "Okay, we--"
"Need a plan," Dr. McKay says grandly, pulling out what appears to be a map. Teyla watches as he spreads it on the wall of the booth beside them. John begins to speak, but Rodney pushes the cotton candy toward his mouth. "Don't worry--I have it all worked out. This is your day for *fun*, Col--John." He nods firmly, carefully not looking at John, who blinks at him but continues to eat. "John. A day free of responsibility. For all of us, of course." Stuffing the map back into his pocket he takes John by the elbow, steering him toward a large, round machine that Teyla recognizes from John's description. "Ferris Wheel first, eh?"
John nods, stuffing more cotton candy in his mouth. "Great idea," he says, smiling at Dr. McKay. Dr. McKay beams back and begins to explain the physics behind the Ferris wheel, which John nods at in that way that tells her he does not understand a single word Dr. McKay is saying. Strangely, however, he does not stop him. Perhaps, she thinks, too busy eating this cotton candy.
As they come to the ride, Dr. McKay motions for Ronon. Curious, Teyla sees Ronon wince, then slowly follow him to a spot a few feet away. Coming up beside John, Teyla takes a piece of cotton candy from him and eats it while he frowns, cradling the remainder. "Do not be a child," she says, but she thinks she understands as it melts onto her tongue. "Do they seem to be acting--oddly?"
John's frown changes, thinking it over, but she suspects that Dr. McKay's offerings of food are perhaps impairing his judgment. "McKay's been under a lot of stress," he says finally. "Maybe he just wants a day off."
"Yet he emphasizes *your*--'day of fun', he calls it." Something about this is strangely--familiar. "Have you and he argued?"
John shakes his head. "Not since we got here. Actually--" John stops, almost mid-chew, but the sweetness overcomes him. Teyla gets another finger of it; he is still slower than she is. "He got weird about Candace in the gateroom."
Teyla nods as she licks her fingers. "Your--ex-spouse?"
"Yeah, apparently they worked together or something." Sheppard shrugs. "And you know, the ex-wife thing."
Teyla nods and watches as Ronon and Dr. McKay seem to engage in an argument that seems to be primarily hissing and pointing. "He did not know you were married once?"
To her surprise, John blushes, ducking his head. "Not much to say about it. Happened, over."
Teyla reaches beneath his protective arm and gets another piece. "Perhaps you should talk to him? Perhaps his feelings were--injured that you did not confide in him."
John looks so appalled that Teyla's able to get a handful of the candy before he can stop her. Pleased, she looks up at the Ferris wheel. "I would like to try this," she says thoughtfully. "You have spoken of them before, but I had no idea they were quite this large."
John's sulky look vanishes, but he finishes off the cotton candy before answering. "Hey, guys!" John shouts, "we're going on the ride! Catch up with us after, okay?" Taking her arm, John pulls her to the man whose job apparently is to assist people onto the small benches.
Getting in, Teyla looks back in time to see Dr. McKay staring at her, and a strange chill crawls down her spine. As the ride starts, John turns, waving at Ronon and Dr. McKay, currently watching them with strange expressions on their faces.
She wonders if their hangovers are still that bad.
After the Ferris wheel (Teyla enjoyed it immensely), Ronon offers to acquire them sustenance, despite the fact they ate lunch only an hour before and the slight green tint to his skin at the mention of food. McKay gives them a square piece of plastic that he calls a 'credit card and for God's sake don't lose it'.
From John, she has a rough understanding of currency and the way that the Earth economy operates. Carrying the card, Teyla first stops for four of the cotton candy, thinking she will be generous and bring one back to John, and slaps Ronon's hand away when he tries to take one from her. "You are ill," she says between bites. "Now, where do we acquire sustenance?"
Rodney had instructed them to meet him at a picnic spot near the center of the park. Carrying her cotton candy, she pauses, waiting for Ronon to catch up. "Why on earth did you and McKay become so intoxicated?" she asks severely. She and John had a very lovely evening in an establishment that hosted a fascinating game known as 'pool'. It was surprisingly easy to learn, and when she beat John, John had looked oddly pleased. She and John had decided they would bring one back to Atlantis and, John explained carefully, take the physicists for everything they have.
"They can be a little snobby," he explained as he chalked his 'cue stick'.
"You are angry they did not let you participate in the chess tournament," she said. John had been very unhappy for several days about this restriction.
John sighed. "Stupid MENSA-only tournament," he muttered bitterly, which made no sense, but then again, sometimes John could be difficult to understand. "Rodney's playing dirty."
Ronon gives her a doleful look. "We were scaring the Marines."
Ronon pauses, looking uncertain, then glances at the picnic area. John and Dr. McKay have not yet arrived. Taking the lead, he goes to a nearby table and motions her to sit down.
Curious, Teyla sits, setting aside the empty cone and taking a bite from the third cotton candy. "Is something wrong?"
"Yeah." Ronon takes a breath, staring at the table. "Look, you can't tell anyone. Especially Sheppard."
Teyla goes through a mental list of the possible things that Ronon might have done that he would not wish Sheppard to know. "Have you slain more traitorous commanders?" she asks worriedly. John once spoke with deep dislike of a former superior officer who apparently had overreacted to some sort of mishap in a country called Afghanistan. He did not appear to be at the SGC, but it was possible. Teyla wonders where Ronon could have hidden the body.
"No!" Ronon looks up briefly, then considers. "Though O'Neill's on my list for that vodka shit. No. Look. McKay broke up his marriage."
Teyla blinks. "Dr. McKay is married?"
"No." Scowling, Ronon keeps his gaze on the table. "Sheppard's."
Sheppard's-- "Dr. Lewis?" she says in disbelief. "Dr. McKay was involved in the dissolution--"
"They were at some conference and Sheppard found out his wife slept with McKay. I mean," he says, when Teyla opens her mouth to argue, for John certainly would have mentioned *that*--"he doesn't *know* it was McKay." Ronon pauses, looking conflicted. "And McKay says he didn't know she was married at all."
Ancients. "And Dr. McKay feels guilty?" she hazards. It would explain a great deal.
"Yeah," Ronon says grimly, picking up a fry. "So he's trying to make it up to Sheppard."
Teyla licks the sugar from her fingers. "At a carnival?" she says doubtfully.
"Kind of." Ronon looks uncomfortable, and Teyla wants to press more, but abruptly, John's hand enters her line of sight and leaves with a handful of her cotton candy. She glares as he sits beside her, but he's more interested in the candy. She can understand, she supposes. She will consider being merciful with her sticks.
"Guys," John says, then looks at the tray, face lighting up. "Fries. God, I've missed fries." Dr. McKay sits down across from John, looking--tense? Teyla cant' be certain. John looks between them as he gets a hamburger and starts to eat. "So, what's next?"
Next turns out to be many rides very quickly. Ronon excuses himself after only two, skin turning yellow and unhealthy, but Dr. McKay grimly matches John ride for ride. She notices that he stays unusually close to John and tends to act--oddly--when she comes too close.
It's very annoying.
However, considering, she allows it. Dr. McKay doubtless feels horrendous guilt for his betrayal of his friend, even if it was unwitting. And John seems quite happy, and Teyla worries for them, because when John discovers the truth, it will hurt him a great deal.
After sunset, they return to the car, John carrying a massive stuffed creature that Dr. McKay won in a game of chance. From the look on the face of the person who oversaw the game, it was possibly not acquired by completely fair means--and from a look at the car, it seems she and Ronon will be sharing space with the creature.
She finds herself less sympathetic to Dr. McKay.
"This was great," John says cheerfully as Dr. McKay takes the bear from John and stuffs it into the backseat, as she suspected. "It's been years since I went to a carnival."
Dr. McKay beams brightly, hand resting on John's back for a moment. She's noticed that he has touched John a great deal today. "I'm glad you had a good time. Tired?"
John thinks about it, then looks sheepish. "A little. Didn't get to bed very early."
Rodney's eyes narrow briefly on Teyla, then he smiles. "Ronon, Teyla, take the front seat," he says, pushing the front seat up. Taking the keys from John's hand, he hands them to Teyla. "You remember how we got here?"
Teyla blinks. "Of course." She's never been lost in her life.
"Er, Rodney," John begins, looking uncertain. Dr. McKay pushes him into the back seat. "But--"
"Just rest," Dr. McKay says soothingly, shoving John over enough to get in beside him.
"Teyla can't drive.
McKay settles himself into the tiny space beside John, requiring John to drape a leg across his lap. "She'll figure it out. It's not that hard."
Keys dangling from her fingers, Teyla watches Dr. McKay's hands settle possessively on Sheppard's calf and wonders if perhaps it is not merely guilt that is motivating Dr. McKay today.