Title: Like This
Author: A.j.
Challenge: McKay/Beckett, "Is it just me or is that a giant phallic symbol?" for Suz.
Spoilers: Um. The two episodes we've seen? Although, this is total speculation for a future point in time where they have regular contact with Earth. Cuz. Really? Why did they bring no zats? Who really wants to pick up all those bullet casings?

Notes: Um. I have no idea where this came from. It just... is entirely Suz's fault. And it's more friend fic than... other. But still. Cute!

Summary: Mum never told him about days like this.


It always ended up like this. Always.

Invariably, during a slow week, Dr. Weir got it in her head that they hadn't done enough 'exploration of the city' and that 'to know our home base is to better protect ourselves in the future' and made up an exploration rota.

Carson was about 90% sure these decisions were made at 3am over Munroot Tea in Major Sheppard's quarters while going over the bullet requisition forms. And while it was perfectly fine to get out for a bit of an ambling walk instead of re-inventorying the latest shipment of med supplies, knowing that the only reason you were actually doing so was because your commanders thought everyone was getting chubby? Well. That was still funny.

But it didn't explain how he always ended up with him.

"So, I figure this is another teleporter that goes up the main shaft of section 27. Do you think so? I think so. Maybe we can get one of those moronic engineering teams out here to disassemble this one. It's not like we need this particular section. It's mostly single rooms with closets and the like. I mean, the crew quarters are fine now, and this would be a great place..."

Carson rubbed his hand over his face and tried not to sigh. If he didn't know better (and he very well may not), he'd think Dr. Weir was trying to fix them up.

Experiments? Get McKay's opinion. Inventory? Have McKay how you how to work the new hacked software. Explore the city every other Tuesday? Take McKay. If this didn't change soon, he was going to radio home about the cruel and unusual punishment clause in the Geneva Convention.

He was fairly certain he had a good case.

Still, Rodney wasn't that bad. Just a bit... hard to take in large doses.

Which seemed to be getting bigger and bigger with each passing week. His mother had never told him about years like this. Then again, she probably never imagined life on an abandoned city floating in the middle of an ocean planet (that they could tell) having to cope with the smartest, most focused, most annoying person to ever grace the annals of history.

Although, she had raised his younger brother, so she actually might have had some good advice.

"CARSON!"

Hell. "Yes, Rodney?"

"Were you even paying attention to me at all?" Oh, lord. He was pouting.

"Not really. Now, what?"

Standing with exaggerated care, McKay shuffled over and offered up his data pad. Text flashed by, almost too quickly to read. None of it had anything to do with mapping. "I think this would be a good area for items testing."

"But we haven't tested anything in here yet."

McKay waved a dismissive hand, eyes still focused on his pad. "I'm sure everything's fine and normal. I mean, this is the fifth level we've found of what are probably residential dorms."

"But we don't know. It's why we're here looking in the first place." Deciding that they should actually have something concrete to give Dr. Weir at this afternoon's briefing, he dug out his own hand scanner and started on the light-filled area around them. One nice thing about all the windows and airy spires was that none of the Ethosians or the Atlantis crew seemed to be suffering from a lack of vitamin D.

"Well, no, we don't know- what are you doing?"

"My job?"

"No! With the-! Give me that." The scanner was plucked out of his hand and flipped about sideways. "THAT is how it's supposed to go."

"But I can't read the scanner now!" The clear bit of plastic, with its shiny lights - which he was never going to admit he only vaguely understood - was on the side now. The small sensors drooping towards the floor.

"You don't need to, remember? Just... if you're not going to be helpful, just go that way."

Oh, yeah. On his list of setups, this was definitely not in the top forty. Right. On with the job. He started back around the perimeter of the room, leaving his partner looking huffy. "Rodney. The whole point is to poke around and make nuisances of ourselves. For you, this is not a strange state of affairs..."

"Oh, nice. Mock me, why don't you?"

"It does seem to be becoming a city-wide sport." Which really wasn't fair, if he let himself think about it. Rodney was a brilliant man. Just. Very proud and open about it. "In fact, just last week-"

"Can we skip the recap of mockage?"

Chuckling, Carson waggled the scanner over the corner and started down the first hallway, trusting that Rodney was even less comfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings than he. "But it's so entertaining!"

Sure enough, scuffling footsteps followed. "But why? Why me?"

"Does 'manly hunger' ring any bells for you?" He could feel the glare at his back. He really could.

"You are such a dork."

"Hey, hey, you said that."

"Wait, how did you find out about that anyway? You weren't even there! And you bring it up every single week!"

"Because you're a baitable wanker."

"You would know."

"... TELL me you did not just say that."

"What? You bait me all the time!"

"Oh, for the... Christ on toast! Is it just me or is that a giant phallic symbol?"

"Huh?"

"That!" Carson waved his had at the rather large... thing spiking out of the hallway in front of them. "The hell is that?"

"Um, dunno." Two of the most dangerous words in the English language those were. Instantly, McKay had his face jammed up near what looked like the control panel. It was at the base of the object in a rather unfortunate place. Seemingly out of nowhere, McKay pulled out a small set of tools and commenced with the deconstruction.

"Be careful, Rodney. I didn't bring anything in case of accidents." More than once on these little jaunts, people had turned up with minor – and in the case of Lt. Ford, several major – burns from various and sundry accidents.

"I'm fine."

"That's not what you said last month." Gotten his pant leg sheared off when he hadn't put his leg in the transporter fast enough. Still, it had been better than Jenkins. Boy had no sense. Four times in a two weeks stretch, that boy had accidentally blown the sanitizer out in his quarters. They'd finally taken it out and jury-rigged a sink.

"Last month, I almost lost my leg to an elevator. This is... oo!"

Rather expectedly, the large... thing lit up. Things tended to do that around McKay. Carson took a fraction of a second to bask in his gene- therapy success before hitting the deck and looking up through is fingers.

Glowing a sickly shade of green, the object appeared to expand before shooting a bolt out the top - don't think about itdon'tthinkaboutit - and shutting itself off. All rather... Okay, he was definitely not even going to think the word 'anti-climatic'.

"Rodney?" He was really trying not to laugh. Really. And not groan. Damn, he'd hit his elbow somewhere on the way down.

"What did it do?" McKay bounced back on his heels and looked around, expectantly.

"Um. Sparked?" Do. Not. Laugh.

"It did?"

"Yes." Biting tongue... now. Sitting up too. Sitting up is good.

"Where?"

"Um. All over that wall." Silent laughter is okay. It really is. It had better be, because his sides were shaking and there really was nothing he could do about it.

"Wow!"

"That is a word, yes. Um, Rodney?"

"I wonder if it has- DEAR GOD!" Yeah. He'd noticed it.

"I think we'd best get back to the infirmary and start in on the briefing with Dr. Weir."

"But you're GREEN!"

And then Carson really did laugh. Whole and hearty from the stomach. Because, seriously. Watching Rodney McKay turn bright red while the rest of him was a fetching shade of puce?

Well. Mum really did never tell him about days like this.

-fin-