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[ don't kill the scientist please ]
by kHo

It took a really long time, but really, he would´ve thought it would take longer.


John had liked Lorne from the moment he met him. Lorne had started out with a smile and a smart salute and a “hell of a game you missed last Saturday. I have it on my laptop if you want?’ Yeah. Lorne was just fine with him.

Rodney, on the other hand, had no time for him. Had no time for anyone, really. Rodney blinked, turned his head, and was barking orders at Zelenka in .2 seconds and halfway down the corridor before Lorne could even drop his hand that had been extended to shake his.

“Well,’ Lorne said, laughing it off. “He´s friendly.’

John had laughed and clapped a hand to Lorne´s shoulder. “You´ll get used to it. It helps if you remember that you can kill him ten different ways before he can get to the end of pi.’ He´d paused then, and frowned. “But don´t. Kill him I mean. He´s annoying but kind of useful.’

And then that first mission had happened.

Lorne´s report had read:

    Repeated internal mantra: Kill McKay when get back to Atlantis. Apologize to Sheppard later. (Then, probably pack my bags to go back home.)

But he hadn´t, so John was okay with it.


Leaning against the outside of the jumper he grinned while playing with what resembled a tumbleweed. Listening to Lorne and Rodney argue was always the highlight of any mission.

“Did you touch this? No, I´m asking, did you? Because why would you do that? Why would you touch this?’

“McKay,’ Lorne said. “I told you. No. I didn´t touch it.’

Oh, yeah, John thought. Lorne touched it alright.

“Well obviously you did,’ Rodney said. “Or if not you, then one of your monkeys over there--’

Monkeys. Wow.

“McKay, maybe keep your voice down? My monkeys generally don´t really like being referred to as such.’

“Fine. The point is, in order for me to fix this, I need to know exactly what was done to it. Exactly.’

Hesitation. And then… “I maybe kind of bumped it.’

“You maybe kind of--’

“Okay,’ Lorne said, perhaps a bit louder than he intended. “Okay, so I tripped, and when I reached out to catch myself, I maybe kind of… twisted it a little.’

“So. We´ve established that ‘maybe kind of´ means ‘definitely without a doubt´, yes?’


“So what you´re saying is that because you´re clumsy, and tripped over your own two feet, you broke a ten thousand year old puddle jumper.’

“I didn´t break it, McKay. I… jarred it. A little.’

“You jarred it,’ Rodney said. “A little.’

Stifling his grin he put on an annoyed expression and walked into the jumper. “How´re we doing, guys,’ he asked. “Can you fix it, McKay?’

“Well of course I can fix it, Colonel,’ Rodney said, fiddling again with the wire in his hand. “I just need to twist these wires together and we´re good to go.’

Lorne turned his gaze to him. “You just need to twist those two wires together.’

Rodney nodded. “Yes.’

“That´s all.’

Rodney nodded again. “Yeah.’

“So you´ve been grilling me on exactly what I did, and how I did it, and where I did it, called me stupid and clumsy and all manner of other things,’ Lorne gritted out, his face turning red, “when all you have to do to fix it is to twist those two wires together?’

“Yeah,’ Sheppard said, giving Lorne a sympathetic look. “Rodney does that.’

“Ah,’ Lorne said, consciously loosening his grip on his gun, probably just in case his fingers got a mind of their own John thought. “Good to know.’

“He´s kind of like a candy machine. Sometimes it gets stuck and you need to ya know…’ John kicked at Rodney´s leg with his boot. “Kick it.’

“So I have your permission to kick him, sir,’ Lorne asked, arching an eyebrow at him.

John grinned. “You do.’

Rodney raised his head. “Uh… Colonel, I´m not sure you should be encouraging Major Lorne to physically abuse--’

“Not hard or anything,’ he said, backing out of the jumper and ignoring Rodney´s splutters. “Just enough to make the record stop skipping.’

“Hello, mixed metaphor,’ Rodney called after him, face crumpling as he turned to look back at Lorne. “Okay, sorry, I was having a little fun at your expense.’

“Just fix the damn thing, McKay,’ was the last thing John heard Lorne say.


“I´m going to.’

“I know it´s hard.’

“No, sir, no, it´s not hard, it´s impossible,’ Lorne said, red-faced and more agitated than John had ever seen him. “I… my own father doesn´t speak to me that way, let alone in front of people, I just…’

John sighed and sat down on the desk in front of the frazzled Lorne. “I´ll talk to him okay? If you´re on the North pier, he´ll be on the South, okay? We´ll just… we´ll figure it out.’

Lorne ran his hands through his hair. “I swear Sheppard, one day I´m gonna forget that I´m not supposed to kill the scientist and I´m going to, ya know, kill the scientist!’

So clearly, John thought, not going to be friends.


And then, the mission to PX-519 happened, and the change started.

John sat there, still too stunned to speak. Twenty-seven hours after they´d missed their first check-in and a team of what should have been 10 scientists and 3 marines came back in the gate as just 2 people: Rodney, and Lorne.

“And you´re sure,’ Elizabeth said, staring down at her paper because, like John, she was finding it hard to look at Rodney´s face. “All of them are…’

“Of course I´m sure, Elizabeth,’ Rodney spat, hitting his hand fiercely against the table. “Yes, I´m quite positive they´re all dead. You know how I know that? Because they killed them right in front of us! Stop asking!’

“Take it easy, Rodney,’ Lorne said, soft, quiet, and with a hand to Rodney´s arm. And, this was the thing: Rodney actually did settle down. “Ma´am. They´re all dead. 100% positive.’

“And where the hell were you,’ Rodney said accusatorily, turning to look at John. “You wanted to play golf and I watched 10 of my team die!’

John felt that like a blow to the gut, and he was supposed to. That´s what really hurt. “Rodney, that´s not fair.’

“No, what´s not fair is that twelve people lost their lives because this galaxy is fucked up.’

Elizabeth frowned. “Rodney, I´m sorry for what you´ve been through, I can´t imagine the horror of seeing--’

“Oh, god, just shut up, the two if you!’

Lorne leaned forward, looking at Rodney. “Knock it off, Rodney. Just chill out. This isn´t their fault just like it´s not ours. And don´t blame Sheppard, the same thing would have happened with him there, except maybe it woulda been him that got killed too. You want that?’

Rodney´s jaw jutted out and his shook his head. “I´m sorry, I´m just…’

“Angry,’ Lorne said, nodding and looking back at them. “It was absolutely a trap. They knew what they were doing, they planned it, and they called the wraith to get their little prize.’

Rodney laughed. “Except they didn´t know their prize was to get killed, but hey… who am I to complain.’

John shook his head. “And the deal was what, hand over Atlantis and we won´t cull your village?’

“Best we can figure it, yeah,’ Lorne says with a shrug.

“I´m sorry,’ John said later, looking down at his shoes while leaning in Rodney´s doorway. “I didn´t think… we´ve dealt with them before, it´s never been a problem. If I´d thought for a second--’

“Sheppard, stop,’ Rodney said, putting his hand out like he was going to pat John´s arm but stopping just short of it. “Look, I was pissed off, and had just watched 12 of our guys get killed. I… I didn´t know what I was saying.’

The next day in his office Lorne came in first thing and looked at him. “Any time you want to put Rodney on my team, sir? Do it. I was a goner for sure without him.’

John frowned. “Rodney tells it the other way.’

Lorne grinned. “I guess it was kinda even. But I didn´t now how to pick the locks.’

John smiled back. “Yeah, he is kind of useful that way, isn´t he?’

Lorne nodded and left the way he came.


And here´s how John knew it had changed for good:

“You are an unbelievable… I honest to god can´t even believe how stupid, moronic, idiotic, no-having-of-the-brains imbecile,’ Rodney yelled, nearly pulling out his hair.

Lorne rocked back on his heels, grinned from ear to ear, and nodded. “Kay.’

Rodney spluttered and came fully out from under the console, dropping his tools to his lap. “Did you hear what I said? I said you were--’

“Stupid, moronic, no-having-of-the-brains, which by the way, clever… just generally, ya know, an idiot. Yeah, I heard you.’

Rodney blinked. “And… you´re just gonna take that?’

Lorne nodded. “Know why?’

Rodney shook his head.

“Because it annoys you,’ Lorne says, leaning forward and lowering his voice. “Nothing annoys you more than you calling someone an idiot and them not fighting back. It´s like a dripping faucet, it drives you crazy.’

Rodney´s mouth worked several times but nothing came out.

“Anyway, I´m gonna leave now,’ Lorne said, glancing over his shoulder to see John. “This no-having-of-the-brains Major is gonna get some grub and go to bed.’ He waved at Rodney and then walked backwards until he was even with John. “I swear, why didn´t you tell me how fun it was to fuck with McKay?’

Now it was John´s turn to blink dumbfoundedly at Lorne´s retreating back.

“I think he likes me,’ Rodney squawks from the console, pointing to the doorway that Lorne had left from. “Actually… likes me.’

“Yep,’ John said, shaking his head and laughing as he sat Indian style across from McKay. “There are a few of us that do.’

Rodney rolled his eyes at him. “Idiot.’

John grinned. “Love you too McKay. Now fix my puddle jumper, I wanna go for a ride.’

All feedback much appreciated!
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