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Fic: Out of Spectrum by skinscript

Title: Out of Spectrum
Author: skinscript
Rating: G
Genre: Gen
Characters: Rodney, John
Spoilers: Be All My Sins Remembered
Words: 700
Summary: Missing scene from "Be All My Sins Remembered". John talks to Rodney immediately after the scene in the boardroom.
Posted to: mckay_sheppard, atlantisfic


A/N: This came from a discussion in sardonicsmiley 's episode commentary, where I vented my irritation at John at some length, and my dismay at McKay's passivity all episode. This is my attempt to explain at least half of it. Crossposted to atlantisfic.


Out of Spectrum


"We're done here." Sam glanced around the room, soft tone doing nothing to mask the steel underneath. Her eyes settled on John briefly before moving on. He got the message.

Not that he wouldn't have gone anyway.

"Rodney!" John half-trotted to catch up to the other man's determined stride. McKay didn't even slow, turning his head enough to verify that John didn't need him to stop, but continuing to plow ahead at his usual rate. Various expedition members littered the hall, stepping against the wall to let McKay pass unimpeded before continuing on their own errands. John was half-surprised they weren't cringing or actually pressing themselves flat to give him the maximum amount of room. Then again, maybe they were from the new replacements from Daedalus and Apollo. Maybe they didn't know any better yet. Still, they had gotten out of the way in the first place. Usually it took the newbies a couple of encounters before they understood that McKay on a rampage was a McKay worth avoiding.

McKay's hand was at his ear as John finally reached his side, matching him step for step. "... bring him in. We only have ten hours to complete the work." As he clicked off his radio, John placed a hand on his shoulder and brought him to a halt. Rodney turned to face him.

He wasn't sure exactly what he'd expected; McKay had such a range of angry places that it was always a version of Russian Roulette as to which you'd see at any given time. John had made a study of knowing them all; how to incite, how to defuse. Would it be red-faced-verge-of-stroke-McKay, or pale-with-fury-blazing-eyes-McKay, or perhaps the most dangerous of them all, perfectly-controlled-slow-burn-of-rage-imminent-destruction-McKay? His friend had an entire spectrum of anger that John knew inside and out, and after the scene in the conference room, John was ready for any of them.

He was not prepared for what he got.

McKay looked at him out of blue eyes that were perfectly calm, if distracted in thought. There was a small flush of irritation across his cheekbones, but nothing more than what he usually showed if it took two mouse clicks to access his porn stash instead of just one. McKay wasn't mad. Not at all.

John took a step back in shock. Rodney raised his eyebrows but nevertheless waited silently.

Silently.

Oh, Jesus. The Apocalypse was here.

"Uhm... You ok?" John asked tentatively.

Rodney frowned. "Fine. Except that I only have ten hours to try and avert the worst idea I've heard since the last time Ellis was here."

"Yeahhhh... About that." John scrubbed a hand through his hair. McKay rocked back on his heels, mouth twisting into a half smile before he started walking again. A little bit slower this time.

"I understand. Trying to make sure I don't step in it too much, and so on. Gotta keep the support of the military out here, and that unfortunately includes Ellis." He waved a hand dismissively. "Don't worry about it."

John nodded slowly. "I do agree with him, Rodney. We need to make use of the beam weapons before they figure out new ways of killing us. They're too damned good at it already."

"They learned from the best." Bitter.

"Look, McKay..." John stopped him again, needing to get this across. Rodney looked at the hand on his arm, back up to meet John's eyes.

"Tick tock, Colonel. I need to go."

"Under a deadline is how you work best, McKay. Ten hours is a lifetime compared to some of the situations we've had in the past. Remember Tarannis?"

McKay smiled again, though it looked more like a grimace. "All too well." He straightened his shoulders, turned toward the lab he shared with the Wraith. "See you in ten hours or less."

John watched him stride away, hand once again at his ear. People peeled out of his way as a matter of course, barely looking up from their laptops. That discussion had gone so much better than he'd expected. No fireworks, no shouting, not even a complaint. Something was very, very wrong. McKay without fire was like chocolate without peanut butter.

"Christ," John muttered. "We're doomed."

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