worried about Rodney’s reaction to bad news from Earth, and
looking for him. And finds a rather drunk scientist, ready to bare his
Set after ‘Trinity’, Season Two. This
when written, but the episode ‘McKay and Mrs
Season Three made it one, especially as I have Jeannie being
older than Rodney!
Thank you to Jayne Perry for the beta-reading.
By Leesa Perrie
, Chapter Two
, Chapter Three
, Chapter Four
Chapter One – Failure
know what it’s like to be me
To be hurt, to feel lost
To be left out in the
To be kicked, when
To feel like
you’ve been pushed around
To be on the edge of
When no one’s
there to save you…”
‘Welcome to my Life’ by Simple Plan
Rodney stormed out of the office, leaving Sheppard, Beckett and
Elizabeth staring at each other in concern in his wake.
“Well, that went well,” Sheppard said dryly.
“I don’t understand,” Elizabeth said.
wouldn’t he want to attend his parents’
”Might just be shock,” John suggested, shrugging
shoulders. “Not easy to find out both of your parents have
in a car crash.”
”Somehow I doubt that’s the reason,”
Carson said, sighing.
“You know something we don’t?” John asked
“No, but I can guess. There must be a reason for
be the way he is. His lack of people skills, not to mention
paranoiac tendencies. Wouldn’t surprise me to find
childhood was less than wonderful, nor that his parents
paragons of virtue either.”
“He never speaks about them, as far as I know,”
John said thoughtfully.
“Aye. He did mention his sister when he thought he
dying from that nanovirus a while back, but he admitted that they were
estranged. Sounds like he was estranged from his parents as
“Even so, don’t you think he should go?”
“Aye, perhaps. But he obviously
if you mention his sister being there, it might help convince him to
go. Help build some bridges with her, rather than have
else between them. Assuming she wasn’t estranged
as well, of course. I ken he still cares for her, despite
whatever pushed them apart.”
“I think someone should try and talk to him. I
like the idea of him doing something he might regret later,”
“I’ll talk to him,” John volunteered.
“Be careful, lad. If he doesn’t want to
talk about it, there’s no use forcing him.”
“I won’t force him… just try and
it’s a good idea to talk to someone, even if that someone
“Okay, just be careful, John. Things have been
enough round here after Doranda,” Elizabeth sighed.
“He’s still carrying some guilt over the death of
even if he won’t admit to it. And over nearly
killed as well.”
“I’ll be careful.”
Rodney had intended to go to his lab, but instead found himself in his
quarters. He hadn’t meant to lose it like that in
the others, but they were so sure he would need time off to attend the
funeral. Well, he didn’t. But they
accepted that so easily, hence his blow up.
He sighed. He knew he shouldn’t leave things as
they were, but he really did not
want to go into his reasons or into his crappy childhood with them, or
with anyone for that matter. Why couldn’t they just leave him
Because they were worried about him, a voice inside said. But
didn’t believe it. Couldn’t afford to let
himself. After all, he’d nearly killed Sheppard and
at Doranda, had caused Collins’ death, and had destroyed five
sixths of a solar system.
He wasn’t stupid. Despite his apologies, he
believe for a moment that they would, or could, forgive him.
that they might care about him. No one wanted anything to do
a failure, and that’s what he was. Sure, he had
asses several times, and would probably do so again, but deep inside,
he knew, he was a failure. Despite all his intellect, all his
achievements, he was a failure.
His dad had said so. And his mom.
Constantly. They were right.
He closed his eyes. He felt nothing. No sadness at
deaths. Okay, actually, he did feel something.
Relief. Relief that they were gone. So what kind of
did that make him?
A failure. He couldn’t even feel remorse at their
passing. Couldn’t feel anything but relief that he
never have to see them again. Never have to deal with their
hatred. Their scorn. And that made him a failure,
as blowing up most of a solar system did.
It was better just to forget it. Forget them.
Better not to expect anything from anyone, like friendship.
Easier that way. He’d let himself slip
people mean something to him. But no more. He
couldn’t take anymore of it.
If he didn’t care, then no one could hurt him. He
get back to what his was. A social failure. A loner.
It was the only way to survive.
The only way to avoid the look of disappointment in people’s
eyes when he let them down.
And he always let them down, in the end.
Sheppard had decided to wait a little while before finding McKay, give
him some time to calm down. It had been an hour since McKay
stormed out and he was hoping that would be long enough.
McKay wasn’t in the lab, so he headed for McKay’s
quarters. Hopefully he’d find him there.
He really wasn’t sure what he was going to say. He
feeling that he was about to open up a particularly nasty can of
worms. He hadn’t had a brilliant upbringing
himself, but at
least he knew he’d been loved. Even when he annoyed
disappointed one or other parent, he was still loved. And
forgiven, most of the time, anyway. The idea of being
from his family; he couldn’t begin to understand how that
happen. His parents were dead, had died some years ago now,
the thought of not attending their funerals seemed wrong.
He’d moved heaven and earth to attend each one.
He knew bad things happened out there, to others. Abuse of
various kinds. He truly hoped Rodney had never suffered
that. But what else could cause him to react like this?
No, he had a bad feeling about this. And that was if he could
McKay to open up. And that was a big if. Especially
he’d pretty much told McKay he didn’t trust
This wasn’t going to be pretty.
Rodney had a bottle of whisky hidden in his room.
smuggled it back from Earth. Carson knew about it, had even
shared a ‘dram’ or two with him.
He didn’t like to drink alone. In fact, he rarely
much alcohol. Had imbibed more since finding people to share
with, like Carson. Or Sheppard.
Maybe he should give it to Carson, he liked a good Scotch malt
whisky. He didn’t think he’d be sharing a
friends…with anyone any time soon. And drinking
just too sad. Too much like his dad.
Oh, to hell with it! He opened the bottle, found a glass, and
drank some. And then some more. And some
dad would be so proud of him; following in his footsteps, getting drunk
as a skunk. Strange saying that. When did a skunk
drunk? His dad, now yeah, he
got drunk. Often. Not a true alcoholic.
didn’t drink all the time. But every so often,
get blind drunk, and mean. Even meaner than when he was sober.
Yeah, his dad would be so
proud of him right now.
Even as he was getting blind drunk, a part of him was crying out; that
he was just proving them right, that he was a failure, that he was just
like them, and that they were winning, with every drop he drunk, and
with every person he pushed away, they were winning,
But right now, he couldn’t care less who was winning.
He just wanted to forget.
Okay, McKay hadn’t answered his door. So, did he go
away, or did he risk his wrath by overriding the lock?
He sighed. No, overriding the lock was not a good
was hardly an emergency. He tried once more to get a
response. Nothing. Maybe he wasn’t
turned to walk away just as the door opened. And a
looking McKay looked at him.
“Go ‘way,” he muttered, and then went
back into his room.
Crap, was that alcohol he smelled? McKay looked
followed him into his room, and looked around. Okay, one
empty whisky bottle, and several items that appeared to have been
thrown against the wall recently. And one definitely drunk
astrophysicist. Not good.
“Hey,” he said.
McKay spun around, a little too quickly, and started to sink to the
ground. Sheppard grabbed his arms, and moved him over to his
“Tol’ you go ‘way,” he slurred.
“No can do.”
“You’re drunk, and I don’t think
you’re safe to be left alone in this state.”
“Drunk. Like a goo’ little
he giggled. “Drunk like a skunk. Why a
“Probably because it rhymes,” Sheppard answered
absently. He picked up the whisky bottle and took it into the
bathroom, throwing the last of it down the drain.
“Hey! Good stuff tha’!
Carson’ll kill ya…throwin’ good stuff
“I’ll take that risk.” He turned to see
Rodney on the
floor, leaning against his bed. He was looking rather
green. Sheppard grabbed a bowl, and rushed over to the man,
as he started to be sick.
“Oh, yeah, good stuff alright,” Sheppard sighed,
McKay’s back as he seemingly tried to spew his entire stomach
up. He wrinkled his nose. Oh yuck.
When Rodney had finished, John took the bowl into the bathroom and got
rid of the contents. He grabbed a glass and filled it with
water. Had to keep McKay hydrated, try and stave off the
he was bound to get. Rodney was not going to be a happy bunny
“Here, take a few sips of this,” he said, offering
the glass to Rodney, who took a sip.
“No, not whisky. Just water.”
Rodney sipped some more, his eyes tracking lazily around his room.
“Why you here?” he asked Sheppard.
“I came to see if you were alright. Maybe to
talk. Guess that can wait, though.”
“Talk ‘bout what?” McKay said again.
“Like I said, that can wait.”
“’Bout parents.” Rodney nodded to
himself. “Don’t wanna talk
“I kind of guessed that earlier,” Sheppard said.
it would be better to talk about them, than to get drunk.”
“Heh, dad used to ge’ drunk. Couple a
month. Blamed me. She blamed me too. Said
got drunk ‘fore I was born.” Rodney blinked.
‘n’ dad argued. Blamed me for
My fault. Shouldn’t a been born. Was
“You know,” Sheppard said quietly. “It
sounds like they were idiots to me.”
“No. I’m idiot.
Failure. They were right.”
“Hey, where’s that ego of yours?
You’re no idiot, McKay, and you know it.”
“I’m no good. Wi’
people. No good.
They hurt you. Turn on you. Say they your friend,
‘gainst you. Best not to let
paused. “Not to let ‘em close. Forgot
Forgot that here. Let people close.
Sheppard closed his eyes. Yeah, big nasty can of worms
time. He hadn’t realised how…
Rodney was. How unsure of himself, and the people around
him. Damn, McKay was sure good at hiding his true
insecurities. The ego and the bluster hid the truth.
He wasn’t sure how to respond. He wasn’t
shrink. But he was a friend. Sure, their friendship
strained right now, but he was still a friend.
“You hate me,” Rodney continued.
“What? No, I don’t.”
“Ever’one hates me. Made
mistake. Big stupid
mistake. Like me,” he giggled. “I was big
mistake. So, now ever’one knows I a
good. No one want to be my friend now.”
Damn, was he crying? Sheppard rolled his eyes.
McKay makes a great drunk. Maudlin in the extreme.
huffed a little at that. Figures. After all, McKay
most things to the extreme.
“I don’t hate you,” he said.
“Nor does Carson
or Elizabeth. Neither do Teyla or Ronon… or even
“No. No forgiveness. No’
really. Say one
thing, think other. People like that.
No’ fall for it.”
Sheppard sat next to Rodney, propping himself up against the
“Okay. Some people are like that, I
guess. But not me, and not them.”
“S’okay. No need to lie. Messed
time. Know that. Been there, done that, got scars
it.” Rodney sighed. “Big scars for big
“Scars?” Sheppard didn’t know
if McKay was
talking about physical or mental scars, but he feared the meant
both. “What scars? What
“I wanted to learn. So I experimented at
mistake. Made big mistake. It exploded.
wasn’t killed. Burned down tree house.
Not my tree
house, Jeannie’s. Nothin’ good like that
me. She was mad. They were mad. Got
Rodney paused. “Got scars on back. Carson seen
‘em. Told him some story. Can’t
what now. Not truth.”
“They beat you often?”
“Nah, just couple of times a year, maybe. When I
did somethin’ stupid,” he paused.
“Thought college be
better than home. Wrong. People hate me for being
at stuff. Or bully me to do work for ‘em.
Or steal my
work. Say they friends, then steal my work. Best
have friends. Friends turn on you.”
Sheppard moved closer to McKay, nudging his arm.
“Not this friend,” he said. “I know
things have been
difficult, but I won’t turn on you.
You’re still my
friend, even after Doranda. You’re still on the
aren’t you? I wouldn’t keep you on the
team if I
didn’t like you. You don’t see me taking
world, do you?”
“Kav’nag’s a schmuck,” Rodney
“Yeah, but even if he wasn’t, even if he was smart
as you, I wouldn’t have him on my team.”
Rodney turned red blurring eyes towards Sheppard, frowning.
“Don’t hate me?”
“Of course not!” Sheppard rolled his eyes.
get it through you’re not-usually-so-thick skull.
Don’t. Hate. You.”
Rodney blinked several times, and then looked away.
“They hated me.”
“Didn’t wan’ me.
‘nother child. Happy with one.
closed his eyes. “Then mistake happen. Want
girl. Got me.” He opened his eyes, and looked at
“They hate each other. Argue.
McKay looked away. “Say my fault they argue. My
drink. My fault she on drugs.”
Jeannie, she liked me when I was small. Then, she
Not wan’ me around. Start believe them. I
all trouble. My fault family no good.” Rodney
rapidly. “Thought she loved me. Not sure
“Hey, she was just a kid. Things are probably
now. It’s not your fault your parents were the way
were. Certainly not your fault for being born. And,
I’m glad you were born. So are a lot of other
despite your… abrasive personality.”
“I sent her a video. When we thought we were gonna
die. Sent messages home. You know?”
“Yeah, I know. Before the siege started.”
“She never responded. Phoned her when we got to
answer phone. Never returned call. Sent her a
No reply. She hates me,” Rodney stated.
Sheppard felt angry at these people, these so called family.
could they have treated Rodney like this? He hoped he never
this Jeannie, for her sake.
“You have family here, Rodney. Not by blood, but by
choice. That’s even better, isn’t
people have chosen you as a friend, as a family member?”
As he said this, he was aware of McKay listing to one side, and
realised he was falling asleep.
“Okay, let’s get you onto your bed,” he
struggling and eventually succeeding in getting McKay onto his bed, and
out of his shoes. He threw a blanket over the man, and then
down in a chair. There was no way he was leaving McKay alone
Though he did contact Carson before settling to his vigil.
Two – Uncertain and Unsteady
secrets in this life that I can't hide
Well somewhere in this
darkness there's a light that I can't find
Well maybe it's too far
Or maybe I'm just
‘When I’m Gone’ by 3 Door Down
Rodney awoke to the mother of all headaches. He had a feeling
that moving would be a very bad idea. In fact, even opening
eyes seemed like a less than sterling idea, so he
He did, however, let out a low groan.
“You awake there, Rodney?”
Okay, so what was Sheppard doing in his room? And then the memories of
the night before hit him. Oh crap, way to go there,
Getting drunk and moaning about his the past was a sure-fire way of
keeping the Colonel’s respect. Not.
“Okay, play possum if you want, but I know you’re
awake. And probably in a world of pain right now.”
He peeled open one eye. Well, not brilliant, but not as bad
feared, so he peeled the other one open as well. Slowly, he
turned his head towards Sheppard and squinted at the blurry image
“Wha’…” his throat felt dry,
and he could
swear something had crawled into his mouth to die. He tried
again. “Why you here?”
“Thought someone should keep an eye on
He felt Sheppard pull him up, and he groaned, trying to push the
Colonel’s hands away so that he could lie back down, but
“Ah, ah, ah,” John scolded. “You need
drink. And I’m suspecting some headache tablets
down well right about now?”
He felt some tablets pressed into one of his hands, and a glass placed
against his lips. He drank a little, and then managed the
gargantuan effort of raising his hand to place the tablets in his
mouth, and then swallowed them with some more water.
“Gotta go,” he muttered, dreading the trip to the
but aware that his bladder was not going to wait for the tablets to
“Okay, here we go.” Sheppard helped him to stand,
guided him into the bathroom. “I hope you can manage on your
now, I have no intention of hanging around in here watching you
“I’ll manage.” And he did,
washed his hands and looked at the not-so-attractive face in the
mirror. He closed his eyes a moment, and then decided he
needed to clean his teeth and try and get rid of the awful taste in his
Once finished, he headed into his room, to find Sheppard waiting for
him, and helping him back to his bed.
“Thanks,” he mumbled.
“So, you remember much of last night’s
“Hmm. Yeah. Sorry, didn’t mean
to bother you.”
He heard Sheppard sigh in frustration.
“It wasn’t a bother. Rather enlightening,
Oh great. He hoped Sheppard wasn’t about to try and
psychoanalyse him or something. Bad enough when a
“Sounds like your parents weren’t too good at it,
you know, bringing you up and all that.”
“They hated me. What else matters? Just
drop it, please.”
He felt the bed dip slightly, and realised John had sat down next to
“Might help to talk about it.”
“Already have. Last night.” He really
just wanted to
be left alone right now, but he knew Sheppard could be tenacious at
times once he got a hold of something. Somehow, he figured
was going to be one of those times.
“You said your dad beat you.”
He sighed. Oh yes, this was so going to be one
times. And he really didn’t feel up to fighting
right now. He resigned himself to telling the whole sorry
his childhood. And braced himself for the pity he really
“Only occasionally. When I did something to annoy
him. Like blowing up Jeannie’s tree house, or
model of a nuclear bomb for the science fair. Or that time he
took the us to a family picnic held by his work, and I ruined it all by
getting stung by a bee and having an allergic reaction,” he
paused a moment. “He said it was my fault I got stung, I
shouldn’t have annoyed the bee. As if I would do
stupid like that! One of the other kids there had caught the
in a bottle and shook it around, and then thought it would be
good idea to release it next to me. I panicked, and tried to
it away, and it stung me.”
“You tell your dad about the other kid?”
“No point. He wouldn’t have believed me,
have punished me for telling lies and trying to get the kid in
“So instead he punished you for ruining the day by having
reaction to a bee sting? Sounds pretty crap to
He closed his eyes, drawing a deep breath.
“Yeah. But it was only once, maybe twice, a year
that he got mad enough to hit me.”
“Still doesn’t make it right.”
“I know that!” He looked at John. “I know
okay? But I was a lot better off than those kids who got hit
everyday, or worse.”
“But he still hit you. Must have used something to
“A belt, okay? He used a belt.”
Rodney looked away, embarrassed by his outburst.
“Most of the time, it was okay though. Well,
guess. I mean, they were always arguing, always saying what a
pain I was, how their life would be so much better if I
been born. Especially when he got drunk. He didn’t
violent, but he got mean. Said things, you know?
of them actually, knew how to use words to hurt people.”
“To hurt you.”
“Yes, to hurt me. Happy now?”
“No,” Sheppard said. “You
didn’t deserve it.”
“Didn’t I?” Rodney clenched his fists,
slightly. “Maybe I did. Maybe they were right and
would have been better if I hadn’t been born.”
“Shit, Rodney, you don’t really think that, do
“Sometimes,” he admitted quietly.
“I know I was
neglected. And I’m not stupid, I know what they did
form of abuse. Mental abuse. And that that can be
as bad as physical abuse. But…it’s hard
sometimes. And I can’t help but wonder if things
been better for them, for Jeannie, if I hadn’t been
“I doubt it,” Sheppard said. “You were
convenient scapegoat. I bet their problems would still have
there without you.”
“Well, I’m glad you were born. And a lot
here on Atlantis are as well. You’ve saved our
enough, after all.”
Rodney was quiet for a while, relieved that Sheppard didn’t
him, but let him be quiet. Let him think. Not that
thoughts were very nice. Memories of his childhood, and
gone wrong, and over it all, Doranda. And he really
want to discuss that.
“You know, they used to say that I went out of my way to
inconvenience them. Like the citrus allergy, it was just
inconvenience. Having to check ingredients of
And, when the hypoglycaemia started, that was just another
inconvenience.” He looked at John. “Do you realise
it is for someone who isn’t diabetic to have
Very. The doctors wanted to do some tests, rule out a few
that could be causing it. My parents refused to have the
done, saying they didn’t have time to spare running me around
them. Well, accept they did have a few done, just enough to
out any tumours, as some tumours can cause it, but none of the other
tests. Had to wait until I was at college to get them done
myself. Not that it helped in the end.
I’m one of
those rare individuals whose hypoglycaemia cannot be explained by so
called medical science.” He shook his head.
“I know I’m considered a hypochondriac, and I
sometimes I am. But the citrus allergy and the hypoglycaemia
real threats to me, and yet they are considered a joke amongst
everyone. I’m considered a joke. And I
only put up with because of my genius, my intellect. So, when
make a mistake, and everyone realises that I’m not quite the
genius I think I am, people turn away.”
He didn’t realise he was wringing his hands, until John put
own over them to stop him. But he couldn’t look at
“When I’m right, I’m Rodney McKay, that
bastard who saved Atlantis. When I’m wrong,
Rodney McKay, the biggest joke around.”
“That’s not true, McKay.”
“Isn’t it? It’s the way
it’s been since I
can remember. People use me to get what they want, or put up
me because of my brilliance; ignore me and laugh about me behind my
back when I’m wrong. Or just plain hate
thought, maybe, just maybe, thing’s were different
But I can’t let myself think that. I made a mistake
on Atlantis. I started to let people mean something to
But that only gives them the power to hurt me. And
tired of being hurt.”
Sheppard took a good look at Rodney. He had never seen him
“You know it’s not like that here. Not
“You have friends here, Rodney. Teyla, Beckett,
Weir, me.” He looked at McKay. “You’re
alone. And you’re not a joke, okay? Sure,
but that’s what friends do. Doesn’t mean
“I…” Rodney started, and then paused
continuing. “Part of me knows that true, but part of
part of me is afraid to believe it.”
“Then you need to conquer that fear and start believing
I know it’s not been easy, this last week or so, but just
we’re upset doesn’t mean we hate you. You
mistake, and it’s up to us to make sure something like
doesn’t happen again.”
“I let my ego get the better of me.”
“Yeah, and maybe we let you.”
“I didn’t want Collins’ death to be for
nothing. If I could make the weapon
“You didn’t know he would die.”
“I should have been more
“Leadership carries responsibilities, and you’re
only one who has given an order that has led to the death of another
person, people even. It happens.”
“Doesn’t make it any easier to live with.”
“No,” John paused, thinking briefly of some of the
had died as a result of his orders in the past.
have to find a way to go on. We all make mistakes.
I’ve made mistakes since coming to Atlantis. Hell,
the wraith! All you can do is deal with it and move
“It’s hard. I…”
Rodney sighed again.
“I have to fight the ghosts from the past. My
telling me I’m a failure. Socially,
every way but one,” he gave a sad laugh. “Even they
admit my IQ was high, that I wasn’t a failure in that
area, just in every other area of my life. And then
those who have betrayed me, pretended to be my friend for their own
purposes, and then turned on me when I was no longer of use to
them. I’m used to be despised by the people around
me. I’m not used to friendship. Real
friendship. Even after all this time on Atlantis, I find it
to believe it’s real. That if I made a mistake,
Doranda, that I wouldn’t be discarded. That the
wouldn’t prove to be hollow.”
“You’re still on the team. Okay, we have a problem
to work on, but you’re still my friend, and I still want you
the team. Still want to spend time with you, Rodney McKay, my
friend, not just with Doctor Rodney McKay, super-scientist.”
Sheppard saw McKay smile at that.
McKay snorted softly, rolling his eyes.
Super-scientist? Really, Sheppard was every bit as bad as
had been at naming things. But it helped, to know that the
Colonel still considered him a friend. He knew he would have
work to regain his complete trust, and he hoped that he could manage
It was true, what he had told Sheppard, about fighting his
He didn’t think he had any true friends before coming to
Atlantis. Even Sam, despite his efforts to convince himself
otherwise, barely tolerated him at best. So this friendship
was still new to him. He was getting better at it,
there were times like now that the doubts and the fears
“You know, going to the funeral might exorcise some of those
ghosts,” Sheppard suggested.
“Or it might just reopen the wounds. And I really
don’t need that right now.”
”Think it’s too late, don’t
raised his eyebrows. “Or did you get drunk just for
He sighed, and rubbed a hand over his eyes.
“No, not for fun. I’m not sure why I did
it. Self-pity springs to mind.”
“So, you going?”
“I don’t think so. Why should I honour
them that way? Not like they deserve it.”
“True. But won’t Jeannie be
there? Maybe you could mend some fences.”
“I doubt it. I’ve tried to make contact
regaining contact with Earth, but she hasn’t
It’s clear she’s not interested in mending any
between us. She won’t expect me to be at their
anyway, so it won’t be a surprise to her when I’m
“But if you do go, you’ll be able to see her in
person. And the fact you have gone could be enough to start
It was clear Sheppard wasn’t giving up on this easily.
“Look, don’t think of it as honouring your parents,
making sure that they are really gone. Maybe finding some
closure, knowing that they can’t hurt you anymore.
the relationship with your sister improves because of it, then
that’s an added bonus.”
“And if she really does hate me?”
“Then it’s her loss, not yours. And at
you’ll know where you stand. If she’s too
see that your parents were wrong, or that you’ve changed,
she doesn’t deserve you as a brother anyway.”
“I know it would hurt, but isn’t it worth the
“And you don’t have to go alone.
I’m sure Elizabeth will agree to let Beckett or me go with
“You… you’d do that?”
“Yes. So would Carson.”
He wasn’t sure about the idea. If Jeannie rejected
him… but he wouldn’t be alone… and
maybe John was
right. Maybe it was time to lay the past to rest.
“Okay, I’ll go. And I admit I’d
appreciate your company.”
“Sure, no problems. That’s what friends
do for it each other. Help out in times of need.”
He managed a small smile at that.
“So, I guess I’d better call Beckett now?”
“Carson wants to see you. Probably offer you some
nice meds to make you feel better.”
“Oh great, you told him I got drunk, right?”
“Hey, I was worried about you, so I called him last night
you passed out. He came over, checked you out, and told me to
make sure to contact him when you woke up.”
“Lovely. Who else did you tell?”
“No one. And Carson won’t tell anyone
not this time. Of course, do this again and he might feel he
needs to tell Elizabeth…”
“Believe me, I have no
intention of doing anything as stupid as this again. Who
knows how many brain cells I killed off last night alone!”
“Good.” Sheppard activated his radio.
“Aye, Colonel, has he woken up, then?”
“I’ll be right down.”
They sat in silence whilst waiting for Carson to come. He
did feel awful, and his stomach was threatening a revolt. He
studiously ignoring it. Heaving right now would be a world of
hurt, though he knew he could only fight it for so long. He
Carson brought something for the nausea.
A few minutes passed and then there was a knock at his door.
Sheppard got up and opened it, letting one unhappy looking doctor into
his room. Great. Just what he needed, a lecture on
evils of getting drunk.
“I hear you drank the last of the whisky,” Carson
narrowing his eyes. “And here I thought you were going to
it with me.”
“Well, I guess I wasn’t thinking too
clearly,” Rodney said quietly.
“Aye, or not thinking at all, more likely.” Carson
“Okay, let’s take a look at you, you daft
Carson checked him over briefly.
“Well, nothing unexpected. You’re
probably have a massive headache, right?” Rodney nodded, and
Carson continued. “What about nausea?”
“Yeah,” he responded.
“Okay, well I can do something about that.” Beckett
vial and attached it to a needle. “This will help take the
of the nausea and the headache.”
He looked at the needle. He’d never been overly
fond of them, but right now… He thrust his arm out.
“Then fill me up,” he said, grimacing when the
needle went in.
“You need to drink, get yourself hydrated, and you need to
something. Believe me, you’ll feel better for
Carson shook his head. “I can’t believe you
bottle on your own.”
“I didn’t,” he said, looking at Sheppard
before turning back to the Scot. “The Colonel there poured
last of it down the drain.”
“He did what?” Carson exclaimed, turning to pin
with a glare. “You can’t be going around throwing
excellent Scotch malt whisky down the drain, lad! What are
you? Some damn Sassenach?”
“Hey, I didn’t want to risk him finishing it off,
Doc! Besides, it just a bit of alcohol.”
“Just a bit of alcohol?” the Scot said, outraged.
“I’ll have you know it’s made with the
Scottish water, with a history that goes back centuries.
There’s history in every bottle, every drop. You
can’t be throwing history away like
And Carson winked at Rodney, as he tried to hide his smirk, but John
caught the exchange.
“You winding me up, Doc?” he growled.
“Yes, of course I’m winding you up,
all, it’s just a bit of alcohol. Very nice alcohol,
expensive at that, but nothing more.”
Sheppard shook his head, rolling his eyes.
“Now, away with you, lad. You look like you need a
rest. I bet you didn’t rest much last
said to Sheppard.
“No, you’re not. You’re
exhausted. Go get
some rest, Rodney here will be fine. I’ll be
checking up on
him regularly today.”
“Okay.” John sighed, knowing there was little point
in arguing with Beckett. “See you later.”
As soon as John was gone, Carson turned back to Rodney.
“I’ll get a bite to eat from the mess for you, and
you to drink some water whilst I’m gone. I hope
you’ve learnt your lesson?”
“Oh, believe me, I have,” he said, grimacing
slightly and turning
his red rimmed eyes to Carson. “As I told Sheppard, I
intention of doing anything as stupid as this again.”
“Good.” Carson got up and grabbed a glass, filling
water and handing it to Rodney. “I’ll be back
some food. Don’t worry, it won’t be
heavy. I don’t think your stomach could handle that
He watched Carson leave, and could hearing him muttering about the
‘daft galoot’ as he left.
He drank some of the water, and then laid down on his bed. He
beginning to feel a little less nauseous, and the headache had abated
slightly. And he was feeling better about others things as
well. Like friendships. He knew he probably should
some of this over with Heightmeyer, but he really didn’t want
to. Maybe talking to Sheppard would be enough.
probably owed Carson and Elizabeth at least some sort of explanation
for his reaction yesterday, and to Carson for getting so blindingly
drunk. It would mean letting his guard down a little, but
it was time to start trusting others with this.
Sure, it was a scary thought, but John had seemed fine with
Not pitying him or despising his weakness, but, if anything, John had
been pissed at his parents. And at Jeannie too. He
at that thought, that someone cared enough to get pissed at those that
had hurt him. It was a novel feeling, but one he found he
Maybe he wasn’t such a failure at this friendship thing after
Three - Disowned and Dismayed
do just comes undone
And everything is torn
‘The Hardest Part’ by Coldplay
Rodney and John had stepped through the gate back to the SGC and,
thankfully, no one at the SGC had bothered them as they headed out to
Canada for the funeral of McKay’s parents. Sheppard
grateful for that, knowing that some of the higher ups wanted to take
the opportunity to talk to Rodney in person about the events at
Doranda, but in the light of McKay’s personal situation had
persuaded to wait on that. He knew Rodney suspected he would
to defend himself at some point before returning to Atlantis.
right now, he figured that Rodney was fighting enough ghosts from his
past without having to rehash his recent mistake as well, especially
for people who were probably looking for a scapegoat.
McKay had been strangely quiet since returning to Earth, but he put it
down to the stress the guy was under. He knew Rodney
looking forward to the funeral, hadn’t even wanted to go
really. That the astrophysicist was afraid of his
reaction to him being there.
They arrived in Toronto the evening before the funeral was to be
held. Rodney had made it quite clear that he didn’t
to do any more than attend the ceremony, and then go back to the SGC,
to face whatever was waiting for him. Get it over with, and
just wait for the Daedalus to arrive from Atlantis, and head back as
soon as possible.
John was hoping he could get Rodney to put off the return to the SGC
for a day or two, to give him time to deal with the personal problems
this was bound to cause. And he had no doubts there would be
problems from all of this. McKay might be doing his best
impression of an uncaring individual where his parents’
were concerned, but he knew differently. There was a lot of
in there, and he didn’t want Rodney anywhere near the SGC
hit him. And it would hit him, he was sure of that.
And he would be there for him when it did. It was what
did for each other, and he wasn’t going to abandon McKay when
needed a friend most of all. No matter what he thought of
events, McKay was still a friend, and he intended to make sure the
scientist knew that. He hoped it would help settle some of
ghosts lurking in McKay’s past.
There were maybe twenty people in the chapel, which surprised
Sheppard. He had expected more. Everyone were
respects to McKay’s parents before sitting down for the start
the service. He hadn’t realised it would be an open
service, and he looked at Rodney, concerned that it might be too much
for him. McKay had seen enough dead bodies without seeing his
parents’ as well. But Rodney didn’t
so he had probably already known what to expect.
“I suppose I should say my goodbyes,” Rodney said
reluctantly, heading down the aisle. Sheppard kept pace with
trying to ignore the looks from the other mourners. He was a
stranger here, and he had a feeling that Rodney was as well to many of
Rodney stopped by his mother’s casket, his face unreadable,
moved on to his father’s. And then turned abruptly
stalked out. Sheppard had to move fast to keep up with
Crap, but McKay could shift when he wanted to.
He caught up with him outside, leaning against one of the
Rodney looked at him, and John was disturbed to see that his eyes were
red. It was clear Rodney was holding back tears.
“Not really,” he whispered.
“You know, before I
got here, all I felt was relief. Relief that I would never
them tearing me apart ever again. But now, seeing
them…” McKay closed his eyes and turned his head
trying to get control of his emotions. “They
deserve my grief. I shouldn’t feel like
“Hey, they may have been rotten parents, but they were still
parents. It’s bound to affect you. Just
you’re human, like the rest of us.”
“I don’t think I can go through with
Sheppard placed his hand on Rodney’s arm, patting it gently.
“That’s okay. You don’t have to
go back in if you don’t feel up to it.”
“I know.” Rodney looked out over the graveyard
chapel. “It’s all a sham, you
“Look, I know you don’t believe, but others
“That’s not what I mean!”
“My parents only ever attended church for christenings,
and funerals. They didn’t really believe in
thought the bible stories were just stories. Fables made up a
long time ago. If they were Christians, they
believed that. So this whole thing is a sham. They
weren’t believers, so they shouldn’t be having a
“No. It’s all lies and deceit, just like
were. Fitting, I suppose. It’s all about
about belief. And that’s how they were, all
bet most of the people didn’t know what they were really
like. Probably didn’t know about his drinking, for
start. That was secret; after all, they had an image to
preserve. An image they need to preserve even in
Rodney fell silent after his outburst. John waited, knowing
there was nothing he could say to help right now.
“I should go back in before the service starts.”
a sour huff of laughter. “They have an image to preserve, and
being there will help preserve it. But I won’t be
in any of the service. I don’t believe, and I
be a hypocrite by pretending otherwise.”
“Okay,” Sheppard said, following McKay back into
chapel. McKay took a seat right at the back, as far from the
other mourners as possible, and John sat next to him, offering a silent
All through the service, McKay sat stiff and silent. He
during the eulogies, obviously disagreeing with every word
But he kept silent.
When the service ended, they quickly slipped out and McKay moved off to
one side so that the other mourners could follow the casket bearers to
the graves first. He then moved after them, hanging back.
“So, which one is Jeannie?” John asked.
“The one at the front, with her husband and two
“Oh. Any other relatives here?”
“No cousins or uncles or aunts?”
“No, we don’t have any cousins and the only aunt we
died some time back. Most of the people here are presumably
parents’ friends and associates, maybe a few of
Jeannie’s. I don’t recognise any of
“Is that why you’re hanging back?”
“Huh. They probably don’t know who I am,
or if they
do, they’ll have heard all the bad things about me.
way, I don’t intend to go near them.”
They arrived at the two graves, situated next to each other, and
remained silent throughout the interment. Afterwards,
started to drift away, until only Jeannie and her husband were left at
the gravesides. Rodney moved towards her, but stopped when
Jeannie’s husband glared at him over his wife’s
shoulder. He sighed.
“I guess now isn’t a good time.”
McKay turned to leave, but Sheppard held onto his arm.
had looked over to Rodney and was now heading his way. McKay
turned back, and waited.
“What are you doing here?” Jeannie asked, sounding
“Come to make sure that they’re really
looked at him in disgust. “Well, you’ve seen for
that they are, so you can just go now.”
And with that, she turned her back and walked away, not waiting to hear
Rodney stood there, stunned by her anger, her hatred.
made a move as if to go after Jeannie, but McKay grabbed his arm.
“She had no right to do that to you,” Sheppard
incensed at Jeannie’s words. He had never seen his
looking so dejected before, and all he really wanted to do was shake
some sense into McKay’s sister.
“It’s what I suspected. Not what I hoped
what I expected. Going after her won’t make any
difference.” Rodney turned away. “Let’s
Sheppard stood for a moment, anger warring inside him, but finally
relented and headed back to the car with McKay.
As soon as they reached the hotel, McKay disappeared into his room,
stating that he wanted to be alone for a while. Sheppard
wasn’t sure if that was a good idea, but decided to let him
be. He’d check up on Rodney later, drag him off to
restaurant for a meal, or order room service. Whichever
In the meantime, he went for a run around the hotel grounds, hoping
that he could jog some of his anger at Jeannie and McKay’s
parents out. He needed to be calm when he met up with Rodney
McKay sat on the couch in his room, trying to hold back
There was no way he was going to cry. Not for his
Not even for Jeannie. He wasn’t going to let them
down, hurt him. Not anymore.
But… he hadn’t realised how hard it was going to
seeing them in their caskets, dead. He hated them, told
so over and over again…but they were his parents.
down, he knew he cared. He just wished he
After all, they had never really cared for him.
And Jeannie… he knew, he’d known before seeing
she still hated him. He shouldn’t have allowed John
him into this. He really hadn’t needed to see her
for him up front like that. And yet… at least he
where he stood now. And that was alone. Well, as
blood relatives went, anyway.
So, who needed them? Who needed her? It was only
being on Atlantis that he had allowed himself to admit that he still
cared for Jeannie… but seeing as she didn’t care
him, it was time to let that go. To forget about
at least, try to. He didn’t need her or her
didn’t need blood relatives.
He had people like John, and Carson, and Radek, maybe even Elizabeth
and Teyla. He snorted, even that Ronon, perhaps?
Maybe. Who knew? The guy was so taciturn, he almost
Teal’c seem verbose. Hmm, now that could be an
situation if the two ever met…
Anyway, going back to his friends, sure, they were still pissed at him
for Doranda, but they still cared. John had said so, and he
believed him. Had to, or else he really would have no one but
himself. And he didn’t want to be alone
He’d spent most of his life alone… so called
tended to use and then discard him, so he’d given up on
friendship. But now… now he had tasted true
friendship. And he didn’t want to go back to how he
So, forget about his so called family here on Earth. He had a
surrogate family on Atlantis, and he may be in disgrace, but they
wouldn’t turn on him. He had to believe
that they would forgive him.
And tomorrow… he had a meeting set up in the late afternoon
General Landry and some others to talk about Doranda. No
they would be putting all the blame on him…and he was to
for a lot of the events, he knew. But he wasn’t
let them blame him for everything. For the loss of a
weapon, for a start. No one could have made it work, no
how long it was studied for. He knew that now.
he’d realised it before… but he knew it now, and
he’d make sure they knew it too.
He sighed. The worst part would be the fact that Sam would be
there. And he really didn’t want to have to face
that. He knew that any respect he might have earned from her
probably gone. Would be after the meeting, for
that hurt more than he wanted to admit.
If he was honest, and right now he seemed to be being honest with
himself, he knew she barely tolerated him. She
him, or at least, he didn’t think so. Not any
But that didn’t make them friends. Certainly
make them more than friends… despite his wish
Damn, but she was hot! And intelligent. And not
He admired her. He wanted her respect.
guessed that Doranda would merely confirm her worst thoughts about him
and his ego. And destroy any respect she had for
didn’t want to see that in person. Really, he
didn’t. He wished she wasn’t going to be
meeting, but they needed someone there who could understand the
‘techno-babble’. And better Sam than
that Dr Lee. How he remained employed at the SGC was beyond
Rodney. Really, the guy was a moron.
This was so not helping, sitting here wallowing in self-pity.
nice hot shower, a change of clothes, and some food would be
And some company, too.
Rodney entered John’s room, glad that they had gotten two
next to each other with an adjoining door. He
surprised to see that Sheppard wasn’t there. He
round the room, and spotted a note propped on a table, which he read.
Gone for a run round the
Took the cell, ring me
if you need me for anything.
He smiled. Typical. Okay. He’d
go for a walk
around the grounds. Sooner or later the Colonel and he would
cross paths. But there was no way he was going to be talked
joining him for a run. Uh, uh, no way. Besides, he
wasn’t wearing the right clothes for that.
He left the hotel and headed into the gardens at the back.
weren’t very big, so it wouldn’t take long to find
Sheppard. And then maybe they could go eat. He knew
bar not far from here. Well, if the place was still there and
still served the best steaks in Toronto. It had been years
he’d been back to his home city, so who knew what the place
like now? Still, it was worth a look, especially if it
hadn’t changed in all this time. Those steaks were
for. Well, not quite literally, but almost…
John had jogged around the hotel grounds, making several laps as they
weren’t very big, when he spotted McKay sitting on a bench,
watching him approach. He stopped when he reached him.
“Hey,” he said, starting to do some stretching and
warming down exercises.
“Nice run?” McKay asked.
“Yeah. You okay?”
“Sure. I was thinking about checking out a bar I
used to go
to now and then. Served the best steaks in Toronto.
I’m hoping it’s still there, and still as
still dream of those steaks…”
Sheppard laughed at the dreamy look on McKay’s face.
“Trust you to dream of steaks,” he teased.
“Oh, and you weren’t dreaming of popcorn when it
ran out that time?” Rodney responded.
“No,” John said, adding somewhat sheepishly.
“Well, okay, maybe once or twice.”
“Oh, I’m certain it would have been more
that,” Rodney stated with assurance. “So, you want
shower first, Mr Sweaty?”
John looked at his sweaty clothes and smiled.
“Oh, I don’t know, thought I’d go like
He grinned at McKay’s disgusted expression, and then shook
“Only kidding, McKay. You going to come in or wait
for me here?”
“I’ll wait here. But I’m
warning you now,
I’m hungry, so you’d better hurry, or I might just
“No, you won’t. Or have you forgotten
got the car keys?” he said with a smirk and headed for his
was nice to have the last word for once.
After John had showered and changed, he and McKay headed towards the
hire car. John decided now was as a good time as any to
McKay to postpone the return to the SGC.
“You ever been to Niagara Falls?”
“Yes, why?” Rodney answered suspiciously.
“Well, I was hoping we could go tomorrow.
been, and seeing as we’re virtually next door to them, I
it would be a good time to go.”
“I have a meeting to attend tomorrow, you know
“I’m sure they’ll understand if you want
it, what with everything.” John looked at Rodney, and carried
before he could interrupt. “Come on, one day won’t
hurt. I’d really like to see the Falls.”
“They’re not that special, not when compared to
some of those falls on M1K-439.”
“McKay,” Sheppard hissed.
“What? Oh come on, no one’s listening to
And it’s true. You’d be disappointed
“It’s not the same,” John interrupted
want to see the best that Earth has to offer. If we were
the Grand Canyon, I’d want to see that too!”
“Humph.” Rodney looked annoyed. “Niagara
the best. The Angel Falls in Venezuela are taller for a
the tallest on Earth in fact, and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe are
the largest curtain of falling water. Niagara just happens to
the most famous.”
“You’re a real spoilsport, aren’t
you? And how
come you know all this? It’s hardly
John grumped good naturedly.
“I got fed up with people going on about Niagara being the
greatest waterfall on Earth, and so memorized why it
It really used to annoy my,” there was the slightest of
“I can imagine,” Sheppard said. “But I
still want to
go. It’s not like I’ll be going to the
other two any
time soon. Come on, don’t be a pain.”
Sheppard watched carefully, ready to argue his point more if it was
necessary. Of course, he also threw McKay his best
dog’s eyes’. McKay merely snorted at the
“Okay, fine. We’ll go.” Rodney
shook his head.
“You’re worse than a little kid. And you
know what I
think of them.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.”
“You, however, can ring the SGC and rearrange the
You want to go so much, you can deal with the paper pushers.”
“That’s okay. I’ve already
meeting for the day after tomorrow anyway.” John
Oh, the look on McKay’s face when he realised he’d
had… it was priceless.
“You, you…” Rodney spluttered, and then
hands up in defeat. “You’re a real pain, you know
that? What if I’d said no.”
“I wasn’t going to take no for an
said, grinning even more. “And would have used the fact that
already rearranged the meeting as a reason to go, if needed.”
Rodney rolled his eyes at that, while John smirked. He was
McKay hadn’t made things too difficult, but there was had
way he would have accepted a ‘no’ on
have pushed for another day if he’d felt he could get away
it, but somehow he knew that would have been asking too much.
McKay could be stubborn at times… well, most of the time,
“So, you hungry? What am I saying, you’re
hungry. Let’s go find that bar you
said, as they finally arrived at the hire car.
“I’m not always
hungry. Can I help it if I need to eat regularly to avoid a
hypoglycaemic attack?” Rodney huffed.
“You’re always hungry,
McKay, take it from someone who knows.”
The good natured bantering continued all the way to the bar, which was
still serving the best steaks in Toronto.
They spent most of the next day at the Falls, with McKay complaining
about how commercialised the place was, and what was it with all these
damned tourists and their crass souvenirs. Sheppard managed
drag him onto the boat that went close to the falls, after threatening
to drag him onto one of the air tours instead, and spent the time
putting up with further comments from Rodney that if he wanted to be
cold and wet there were much more interesting places to do it, and he
didn’t want to be cold and wet in the first place.
if he caught a cold Sheppard could look forward to some nasty paybacks
in his near future…
Sheppard was just glad to see Rodney back to his normal self.
Four – Reprimand and Respect
pointing their fingers
Always condemning me
Nobody knows what I
‘45’ by Shinedown
It was a few hours after they had returned from Canada, and Sheppard
was at a loose end. McKay was still in the meeting with the
powers-that-be regarding the Arcturus Project, and he was getting
worried about how long the meeting was going on for. He knew
McKay had messed up, but he also knew that McKay was not the only one
to blame for it all. That they should have realised how much
Collins’ death was weighing on Rodney’s conscience,
affecting his judgement. And the military wouldn’t
given up on the weapon easily, and it might very well have ended up the
same, or worse. If he hadn’t been with McKay, then
was a good chance McKay and whoever had gone with him would be
dead. And who knew who the military would have sent with
Or how many?
No, if the higher ups were looking for a scapegoat, then they were
wrong. McKay had messed up, but others had, or would have, as
He knew he was hovering around the meeting room, and he knew he had
attracted attention from others, but he didn’t really
In fact, he was feeling pretty annoyed at not being allowed to attend
the meeting himself. They should be asking him why he had
to back McKay. He should be there, to defend Rodney where
possible, and to take some of the blame himself. For not
protecting McKay from himself.
He heard the door to the meeting room opening, and moved to one
side. General Landry and some others left, but not
He approached the room, unsure whether to enter or not. He
hear people talking, so hung back slightly.
“You okay, McKay?” A female voice he
didn’t recognise asked.
“Fine. No worse than I expected.” Rodney
“You should get some rest.”
“Yeah, and everything will look better in the
It’s a long time since I believed in that particular fairy
tale,” he snapped.
“You’re still impossible,” the voice said
frustration, and then softened slightly. “And you should
get some rest.”
He heard someone heading for the door, and slipped to one
woman left the room… ah, not just any woman.
Carter of SG-1. He sighed, and headed into the
was alone, and he looked… well, defeated. Damn.
“Hey, I was beginning to think the meeting would go on
Rodney stood tiredly. John hadn’t seen him look so
drained for a long time.
“So, how did it go?” he asked, worried by
“They tore a strip off me, and I pointed out some truths they
didn’t want to hear. Like how they were just pissed
the weapon was gone, even though it wouldn’t have
How they were looking for a scapegoat and that I wasn’t
it.” He sighed. “It didn’t go too
threatened to have me assigned back to Earth.”
“Don’t worry, I called their bluff on that
know I’m needed on Atlantis. Besides, Elizabeth
wouldn’t have allowed it, and she has more say than they like
“So, you’ll be coming back?”
“Good,” John said, smiling.
“That’s all that matters. Who cares what
they think, anyway?”
“I do,” Rodney muttered. “Well, I care
thinks, that it. Couldn’t care less about the
“She? Oh, Colonel Carter?”
“Yeah.” Rodney looked away, sighing. “We
get off to a good start. I was… my normal
when we first met. Even called her a dumb blonde.”
shook his head at that. “Didn’t go down too well,
can imagine. I ended up in Russia not long after.”
“Yeah, ouch. The second time wasn’t much
better. In fact, my ‘solution’ got her
hurt, as well
as making the situation worse. Still, she seemed not to hate
so much in the end. Even, perhaps, like me a
little. I was
hoping that my time on Atlantis might help. That she might
respect me. I guess I messed that up.
she has any respect for me now.”
“You don’t know that.”
“She really means something to you, doesn’t
“I… admire her,” he said and then smiled
“And you have to admit, she is hot. I mean, really
hot. And intelligent. Not as smart as me, maybe,
but…” He sighed, shaking his head. “Who
kidding? She could hardly stand me before this mess, and I
can’t see that this will help matters any.”
John was surprised by McKay’s openness. And he
just how much gaining Carter’s respect meant to
“Come on, let’s get something to eat. And
think you should get some rest. They’ve put a
rooms aside for us for tonight.”
“Alright. Tomorrow I’m heading out to my
apartment. I don’t intend to hang around here
the Daedalus to arrive.”
“Sounds like a good idea. Of course, I
much choice. I suppose I could get a hotel room
or crash on someone’s floor, maybe?”
“Hmm, what? Oh.” Rodney looked at him in
surprise. “You mean my floor?”
“Well, that’s if you don’t mind the
you want to be alone, that’s okay, but, well, if you
And Rodney smiled. A tired smile, but no less brilliant in
“I just can’t seem to get rid of you, can
said. “You’re welcome to stay. I think I
an air mattress hanging around somewhere…from my one and
attempt at camping some years ago.”
“Sounds like luxury to me.”
It was gone midnight. After a somewhat subdued meal, McKay
retired to his temporary quarters, and now John was prowling the
corridors of SGC, trying not to worry about how quiet McKay had been
after the meeting, and wishing he could have been in there to try and
take some of the heat for him.
His wanderings brought him down to the science labs, and he
wasn’t too surprised when he realised where he was.
wondered which lab was Carter’s, not that she was likely to
here at this time of night. Then again, his experience with a
of scientists suggested she could be.
He should probably stay out of this. He had no idea of what
Carter thought of McKay. She might hate his guts for all he
knew. He didn’t think so from the snatch of
had overheard. In fact, he had a feeling that Rodney was
when he thought he’d lost any respect she might have had for
him. And if that was the case, then he needed to find a way
let McKay know.
He came to a lab that was occupied, and sure enough, it was Colonel
Carter who was burning the midnight oil, so to speak. He
in, unsure of what to say, if anything. He was a little in
the SG-1 team despite his own experiences in the Pegasus galaxy, if he
was being honest. Not that he was going to admit that to
He looked up and saw Carter watching him curiously.
“Oh, hi,” he said.
“Anything I can do for you, Colonel Sheppard?”
“Oh, not really.” He put on his most charming
smile. “Just taking a walk before I turn in.”
Carter looked at the clock, and then back at him with a smile.
“Up late, aren’t you?” she asked.
“I could say the same for you too,” he replied.
“Ah,” she said, turning back to her computer.
“Got involved in an experiment.”
“I understand. Happens a lot on Atlantis
McKay’s the worst. I swear, you put an Ancient
front of him and the universe disappears until he’s figured
what it does and how it works. Fortunately he
forget to eat, but sleep?”
“It’s a curse,” she said with a grin.
“A lot of
us scientists suffer from it. So what has you wandering
“Oh, me. Well, I’m well known for my
nocturnal wanderings. McKay claims that I’m part
She laughed at that.
“McKay has a way with words, doesn’t he?”
shaking her head slightly. “I’ve read
some of the
reports from Atlantis. He’s changed.”
“I don’t know about that. Personally, I
it’s more a case of discovering who is really was all
along. Of course, it wouldn’t do to tell him
He moved further into the lab. “Actually,
little… concerned… about him. I get the
meeting didn’t go too well.”
“No,” she sighed. “But he held his
own. And it
helped that Dr Weir and Dr Zelenka had sent in reports defending him to
some extent and making it clear he was needed on Atlantis.”
“I hadn’t realised they had done that,”
he said in
surprise. “Damn, if I’d have
known…” He looked
away briefly. “I should have been in that damned meeting
“I think he was somewhat surprised himself, though he hid it
well. Personally, I didn’t see any point in holding
meeting, especially when he’s just lost his
“Yeah, he’s not handling that too well.”
“He told me once how they argued all the time and blamed
“Yeah, he had a rough childhood by all accounts. He
wasn’t going to attend the funeral, but I persuaded him it
be best. Put some old ghosts to rest, that sort of
Not so sure it was a good idea now. It hit him harder than he
expected, and his sister…” he trailed off, unsure
should have said as much as he had.
“Basically told him to go to hell in all but words.”
“Yeah, oh. To be honest, I just want to get him
Atlantis, where his friends are.” He shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s good, that he has friends.
He’s not the most… easy person to get on
“No, but he’s worth the effort.
He’s pulled our
asses out of the fire more times than I can remember. Saved
life more than once. Risked his own life to do it.”
smiled. “He might rant and whine and complain, not to mention
massive ego and total lack of tact or diplomacy, but he comes through
time and time again. And even when he’s terrified,
what needs to be done to save the city or a friend. He does
of his best work when he’s terrified.”
“I admit that we didn’t meet in the best of
but it’s possible I underestimated him and his
“Yeah, most people do. And he did call you a dumb
“He told you that?”
“Yeah. Think he regrets that you both started off
on the wrong foot like that.”
“He can be a real jerk,” she said. “But
himself somewhat the second time we met, eventually.”
“Look, I’m probably speaking out of turn here, and
he’d make my life miserable if he knew I was telling you
but he really seems to admire you. And that’s
amazing, when you think about it. The man doesn’t
many people other than himself.” He smirked slightly at that
Carter seemed surprised by his comments.
“Uh huh. And it’s killing him thinking
that any small
amount of respect you might have had for him is probably gone due to
his recent mistake.”
“Oh.” She was quiet for a moment, and then sighed.
think I need to talk to him. I do respect him for what he has
achieved on Atlantis. And I’m not just talking about the
technology, but the fact he goes on missions, and has
That he’s found his place in the universe and embraced it,
despite the dangers involved. And yes, he made a
Let that big ego of his get the better of him. But
like I haven’t made mistakes in the past, and we all have
that we have had to deal with. It’s just that his
is so in
your face, whereas most of us keep them hidden to some
He relaxed, relieved by her words.
“You’ll talk to him, then?”
“And you won’t mention this conversation?”
“Why? You afraid of his wrath?” She
“Hey, I don’t want to get on his wrong
there, done that, had the environmental controls in my quarters freeze
my ass off for a couple of days as a result of it! Not to
a certain deserving pain in the ass scientist, who makes Rodney seem
like the diplomatic sort, had the water cut off in his quarters, and it
took nearly a week to fix that little
I know better than to piss him off!”
“I wouldn’t want you to suffer any other
‘gremlins’ to make your life difficult,”
with a grin. “But I will mention that you were concerned for
him. He’ll probably figure out you came to see me
“I suppose so. Guess I’ll just have to
He looked at his watch. “Suppose I’d better go to
bed.” He glanced back at her, grinning cheekily.
“Don’t let your experiment suck you in too
“I won’t,” she said with a smile.
He headed for his quarters, feeling somewhat lighter than he had for a
Rodney headed to the mess for breakfast, before Sheppard and he headed
out to his apartment. He couldn’t believe he was
the Colonel bunk down at his place, and had no doubt he was going to
regret it. Still, he had to admit, he didn’t really
be alone right now.
Grabbing some food, or what passed for food here, and some coffee, he
found a seat in the corner, away from anyone else. Okay, he
not want to be alone, but he was picky about who he wanted to spend any
time with. And he was a long way from anyone, other than
Sheppard, who he might want to spend time with right now, and the
Colonel was apparently ‘taking care of business’
heading out with him in a bit.
He had just started in on the almost-food, when someone approached his
“Mind if I join you?”
He looked up, startled to see Sam standing there.
“Um, if you want,” he stammered out.
Crap, he really
didn’t want to talk to her. He’d rather
not know for
certain how much she didn’t like or respect him at the
moment. Regardless, she sat down and started in on her
“So, I hear you’re heading off base for a
“Yes. Thought I’d check my apartment was
still in one piece.”
“Colonel Sheppard’s staying with you, so
He grimaced, and then sighed.
“He’s a leach. Can’t get rid of
him. Believe me, I’ve tried.”
“I thought he was supposed to be part bat?” she
“Oh.” He narrowed his eyes. “Been up to
his nocturnal wanderings, I take it.”
“And he just happened to bump into you?”
“No, I don’t think it was purely by chance he ended
my lab last night. Of course, he didn’t want me to
that. He’s worried he might find gremlins at work
quarters when he returns to Atlantis. You didn’t
cause his room to freeze up, did you?”
“Oh yes, I did. He deserved it, too, ” he
said, smiling at the memory.
“And who was it who had his water cut off for nearly a
“That would be telling, though I will say that it was Zelenka
let it go on for a week. I had only planned for a couple of
days.” He smirked. “Now pissing off
Zelenka is far more
dangerous than pissing me off. Sneaky little Czech,
just glad he hasn’t pulled anything on me, yet.
I’d probably deserve it if he did,” he paused and
looked away, a
haunted look returning to his eyes. “Especially
“We all make mistakes,” Sam said quietly.
“You wouldn’t have. If you had been in
wouldn’t have destroyed most of a solar system, not to
nearly get your friend and yourself blown up with it.” He
his eyes. Sam reached out and patted his hand briefly,
him to look at her.
“We all make mistakes, McKay. I might not have done
you did in that situation, but I’ve made other mistakes with
reaching consequences. You let your ego get the better of
I’ve let my emotions do the same. The replicator
instance. I made some bad judgments there.” And
grinned. “Welcome to the human race, McKay.”
“Oh, very funny,” he muttered, feeling better than
for days. “So, what exactly did the Colonel say
me? How much payback am I talking here?”
“Only that you were having a tough time of things.
I’m sorry to hear about your parents, by the way. I
you weren’t close, but it’s still a lousy thing to
“Perhaps,” he said, clearly not wanting to talk
“And that he was worried about you. Seems to me
he’s a good friend. And I’m glad that
found some, good friends, that is,” she paused for a moment.
“And I have to admit to being…impressed, and
you being on a first contact team.”
“Don’t let it go to your head, McKay, but
didn’t think you had it in you. I was wrong, and
sorry about that.”
“So,” he paused, and then that familiar smug look
to his face. “Does this mean you fancy me? Oh, what
saying? Of course you do…”
“Not even in your dreams, McKay,” she threatened.
“Ah, playing hard to get? Really, so
don’t you just admit to it and be done with it?”
“You…” she shook her head.
“Are still the most
annoying, irritating and obnoxious person I’ve ever
“I take it you haven’t met Kavanagh,
then?” A voice said, causing them to jump slightly.
“Colonel, how long have you be eavesdropping on our
conversation?” McKay lifted an eyebrow.
“Just long enough to know Carter doesn’t fancy
John said, smiling and then turning to Sam. “Trust
me, Kavanagh makes
McKay look like a veritable saint.”
“In which case, I hope never to meet the guy.
McKay’s bad enough.”
“I am still here, you know?” his slightly outraged
“Oh, he’s not that bad, once you get past the
whining and the ego. Really.” John smirked.
“Now that’s just… so not
“And his lack of people skills, and hypochondria,”
“I am not a hypochondriac…”
“Oh, and his almost constant complaining, and his rants and
”I do not rant. And I certainly do not have
“Boys!” Sam said, interrupting their insults.
“Really, you’re worse than kids.” She
“And I thought that Jack and Daniel were bad.”
“Oh now, that’s just insulting,” he
“Actually,” Sheppard stated. “I think
I’ll take it as a compliment.”
“You would,” he said, shaking his head.
“So, when are you heading out?” Carter asked.
“When McKay here is ready,” Sheppard said turning
looking at the partially eaten food. “You gonna finish that,
can I tempt you away with the promise of waffles at a
He looked at the remains of his breakfast, and then back at Sheppard.
“Just about anything would be better than this. How
come the SGC food is so bad?”
“It’s one of those mysteries that are beyond
explanation.” Sam grinned. “And believe me,
researched by some of the best.”
“Oh, so that’s what SG-1 gets up to in its spare
time, then?” Sheppard teased.
“Not anymore. We gave it up as a lost cause some
ago. Though I think Mitchell wants us to re-explore
“All very interesting, I’m sure, but I think
and find some real food,” he interrupted. “This
that tuttle root soup that Teyla’s been experimenting with
good. And that’s saying something!”
He stood, gathering his tray up.
“Well, good seeing you again, Sam.”
“And you, though I can’t believe I’m
“You’re such a riot,” he muttered, taking
over to the clean up area. He returned shortly, rubbing his
“So, you coming, Sheppard?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m coming. Nice meeting you,
“You too.” Sam turned to look at McKay.
“And take care out there.”
“We will,” he replied. “Or at least, I
will. The Colonel on the other hand…”
And the teasing continued as they left the mess and headed out in
search of a decent meal.
I realised after writing this that in
‘Letters from Pegasus’ McKay
says he has never been to Niagara Falls, but in this story he has - a
slight error on my part. Oh well, it's an AU now anyway,
thanks to Season Three!