Title: The Sixth Sense

Author: Porthos

Challenge #25 in the Weir ficathon on livejournal, posted by Purpleyin.

4 specifications: McKay, Weir, The Sixth Sense and mention (or inclusion of) Earth

Rating: K

Spoilers: Letters from Pegasus, and a big one from The Sixth Sense.

Pairings: McKay/Weir, Weir/Sheppard, with a few tidbits thrown in for M/S and M/B slash fans.

Summary: McKay and Sheppard bicker, Rodney pulls a "Daniel Jackson," and a love triangle gets resolved.

Author's notes: This is terribly late, so I apologize, but it's also really long, so hopefully that will make up for it. It's also unbeta'd, and this is only my first draft, so any mistakes or inconsistencies are totally my own. Oh, and also, just pretend that the ZPM allows two-way travel between Earth and Atlantis, or otherwise the ending doesn't make sense. ;P

oOo

Elizabeth strolled through the corridor of Atlantis, listening to the good-natured bickering of the men she stood between.

"Major, please! Football requires as much athletic prowess as a bunch of cavemen grunting and squabbling over the last piece of meat. Hockey, however…now there's a sport that requires finesse."

Sheppard rolled his eyes. "Right, if by 'finesse' you mean the ability to blindside a guy up against a glass wall. So much for your civilized sport, McKay."

"At least a hockey player's athletic ability isn't considered directly proportional to the size of his beer belly," Rodney snorted. "Besides, hockey is an Olympic event."

"Oh, so it's not really a sport unless it's in the Olympics?"

"The Olympics are an internationally recognized event, Major. If dozens of countries come to a consensus, it's an official sport," he replied smugly.

John came to a halt, causing the other two to stop and look at him. "Okay, I think we need a third, objective opinion," he said, a twinkle in his eye. "Elizabeth, which do you consider more of a true sport?"

Elizabeth pursed her lips at being addressed. She had allowed their argument to dissolve into the background, an oddly comforting and ever-present aspect of their friendship. "Between hockey and football?" she questioned. At Sheppard's nod, Elizabeth pretended to consider the matter carefully. Finally, she answered in an assured tone, "Neither."

She fought to keep a straight face as they raised their eyebrows in unison. "Neither?" John asked.

Elizabeth allowed a smile to touch her lips when she answered. "I prefer synchronized swimming." She turned and continued down the hall, leaving the two men gaping after her.

"Synchronized swimming?" Rodney parroted, his voice incredulous.

"Well," Sheppard said in mock seriousness, "It is and Olympic event."

Rodney glared at John's back as he followed Weir down the hall. "Oh, har har. Really, Major, I don't know why you joined the military when you had such a promising career in stand up!" He jogged to catch up with the others, but stopped short as they passed his lab. "Wait a minute!" he called, ducking into the room. "I almost forgot, I have to grab some files for the debriefing."

Elizabeth and John followed him into the lab to find Rodney carefully piling files and folders on his desk. "Rodney, you do realize that our meeting at the SGC is only a formality. All this isn't necessary."

Rodney didn't glance up from his paper shuffling. "Still, it never hurts to be prepared."

The clearing of John's throat sounded suspiciously like the phrase "suck up." Elizabeth gave him a stern look, to which he replied defensively, "What? He's just trying to brown nose for the president!"

"Oh, please. He's not even from my government. And don't tell me you're not excited to meet him!" Rodney pointed an accusing finger.

Sheppard responded coolly, "Already have. Who do you think talked me into going on this crazy ass mission, anyway?"

"I thought that was a coin toss."

"Major," Elizabeth interrupted before he had a chance to reply, "I assume you've already compiled your supplementary reports for the president?"

John suddenly became very interested in the many devices on McKay's lab table. "It's not completely done yet, but it's coming along nicely."

"The meeting is in less than an hour, Major!" This time she glared in earnest. "Have you even started?"

"Hey, I'll get to it," Sheppard said in a mildly defensive tone. "I work best under pressure."

"Ah, yes," Rodney paused in his filing, staring out at nothing contentedly. "The wild call of the puffy-haired procrastinator. Funny, I thought they were extinct on Atlantis."

Elizabeth tuned out the sound of John defending his hair's honor, choosing instead to focus on the objects on Rodney's table. One object in particular caught her attention. It was a round device, about the size of a softball. It was covered with brightly colored squares, making it look like a Technicolor disco ball, only this disco ball had Ancient symbols written in each of the squares. Curiosity got the best of her, and she reached out and felt its smooth surface, then lifted it up to find it heavier than she expected. Happy to have an excuse to interrupt their argument, Elizabeth turned to Rodney and asked, "What does this do?"

Rodney only cast her a brief glance before doing a double-take. "Oh, uh, that…We're not really sure. Connor's team just found it in another lab. We haven't had a chance to study it yet."

Elizabeth turned it over in her hands as she continued to examine it. "It looks very—"

"Pretty?" John offered.

Elizabeth raised an eyebrow at him. "I was going to say intriguing, but now that you mention it—"

"Yes, well, regardless of how it looks," Rodney interjected restlessly, "we haven't had a chance to determine if it's dangerous or not, so you probably shouldn't be messing with it."

His words and tone would have made just about anyone else a bit put out, but Elizabeth was able to recognize it as Rodney's concern for her well being, and handed the device over without complaint. Rodney made a move to take the ball from her, but as soon as his fingers touched it, there was a brilliant flash of light and a shock wave that sent Elizabeth and Rodney flying across the room in opposite directions.

Almost immediately, John was by her side. "Elizabeth! Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." She sat up, holding her head. It felt like a thousand tiny jackhammers were pounding away at her temple. "I think I hit my head, though." Just as he tried to gently pry her hand away to get a better look at her temple, she heard a muffled groan from the other side of the room. "I'll be fine, really." She waved him away. "Go check on Rodney. And John," she grabbed his sleeve and whispered, "pretend you checked on him first. You know how he can get." With a smirk and a nod, John moved off towards the opposite end of the lab. Elizabeth closed her eyes and listened to the throbbing in her head and the sound of John's voice.

"McKay, are you alright? McKay?"

Another groan. "I'm up, I'm up."

"McKay." This time it was a little more forceful.

"What? I heard you the first time!" came his very irritated voice.

"Rodney!"

"Major, what are you—" Rodney's voice became low. "Oh, crap."

Elizabeth's eyes shot open to reveal Rodney standing, peering over John's shoulder. The Major was apparently crouched over something, but her view was blocked by the lab bench. Getting to her feet, she ignored her sudden dizziness and headed over to join Rodney, who wore a shaken expression. When she reached his side, she could easily see why. Sheppard was crouched over the pale, lifeless body of a second Rodney McKay. She glanced between the two of them, then asked in a strangled voice, "Major, what's going on here?"

John didn't even glance in her direction, simply tapped his radio with a trembling hand. "Carson. Carson!" His voice had an edge of barely controlled panic.

"I'm here, Major. What's the—"

"Get down to McKay's lab, right NOW!"

"Major?"

"Damn it, Carson!" John's voice was thick and frantic. "He's not breathing. I …I can't find a pulse."

Elizabeth's eyes widened in shock, the she glanced at the man standing beside her. Rodney's face seemed to drain of all its color and his jaw hung slack.

"Start CPR," Carson's brogue came through the radio. "I'll be there as fast as I can."

John nodded silently, already positioning McKay's body for mouth to mouth and chest compressions. Next to Elizabeth, Rodney found his voice. "Oh, this is not good. This is so very, very not good."

Elizabeth tried to control the rising uneasiness in the pit of her stomach. Turning to the McKay standing next to her, she asked, "Rodney, what happened?" When she got no response, she said his name again, this time more urgently. "Rodney!"

It seemed to shake him out of his stupor, and he turned to meet her eyes, as if seeing her for the first time. "You…you can see me?"

"Yes, of course I can see you!" She was struggling to keep her voice calm. "Why wouldn't I be—"

Without saying a word, Rodney waved his hand in front of John's face. Sheppard continued doing his chest compressions on McKay's lifeless body, completely oblivious to Rodney's hand hovering centimeters from his nose. "Apparently," Rodney said, straightening, "you're the only one who can."

Elizabeth lost the battle to keep the panic out of her voice. "What the hell is going on here?"

Rodney's reply had that quality he possessed when he knew the answer, and was just waiting for everyone else to catch up. "Isn't it obvious?" he asked, motioning to the lifeless body. "I'm dead."

oOo