Title: Misadventures in Babysitting
Author: Dr. Dredd
Rating: G or K
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, characters, concept, etc, aren't mine. I get no profit or reward from this except the joy of writing.
Summary: In which we meet the Athosian children again and learn the real reason Rodney doesn't like kids! Sequel to Perfect Angels.
Stuck on the mainland, Rodney's blood turned to ice when he heard the dreaded noise. It was a sound that would strike terror into most men's hearts, and he was not immune. He frantically looked for a place to hide from the fearsome entities. Unfortunately for him, though, he was standing in an open clearing near the puddlejumper, and there was nowhere to run. He resigned himself to his fate and turned to face his pursuers, who increased their yelling at the sight of him.
"Uncle Rodney, Uncle Rodney!" screamed the four Athosian children happily. Heedless of Rodney's dignity, they slammed into him and knocked him to the ground. Breath knocked out of him, Rodney could do little more than squeak, "Ow?"
Teyla eventually came to Rodney's rescue and extricated him from the eager clutches of the kids. "Dr. McKay, you remember Zaira, Mara, Zak, and Jef, don't you?"
"How could I forget?" Rodney muttered. Several months ago, he had been put to work watching them while Teyla, John, Elizabeth, and Ronon went offworld. Perfect angels while Teyla was around, the kids had morphed into his worst nightmare when he was alone with them. They had wreaked havoc in his lab and tormented Kavanaugh. (The latter somewhat made up for the former.) As a final trick, they had painted Rodney's labcoat pink when he wasn't looking. Carson and Radek still snickered at him when they saw him doing his laundry.
At Teyla's glare, Rodney swallowed nervously. "Uh, hello guys," he said. "Are you finding your stay on our world, er, educational?"
"Ewww!" squealed Mara. "School? Bleah!"
"There's no need to be anti-intellectual," scolded Rodney. "Do you want to spend the rest of your life asking 'Do you want fries with that?'"
"What's a fry?" asked Zak.
Rodney was interrupted in his lecturing by a loud bellow of laughter. "Torturing kids, McKay? That's a new low even for you," grinned Ronon.
The four children froze at the unexpected loud noise. Jef gasped and Zaira tried to hide behind Teyla. "What's that?" quavered Zaira.
"It's huge!" Jef said.
"It is a friend of mine," said Teyla sternly. "This is Ronon Dex, children. He is a brave and cunning warrior."
"Like Major Sheppard?" said Zak eagerly.
Teyla decided against correcting the boy about John Sheppard's new rank. It would just cause too many questions. "Somewhat like Major Sheppard, yes. Ronon has also managed to evade the Wraith for seven years."
The kids looked suitably impressed. "Can you tell us any stories?" Mara asked shyly.
Now it was Ronon's turn to look a little nervous. "Not much to tell," he rumbled. "I hid and ran a lot."
"Were you lonely?"
Ronon couldn't help but smile down at the earnest young girl. "Yes, but at least I knew I was keeping my people safe." His smile turned wistful. In the end, his people hadn't been safe, but he figured that he had at least given them a few more years.
As the children crowded around Ronon, Rodney took the opportunity to slowly slip away. If Teyla noticed him go, she didn't say anything. She was just grateful the children had found something to keep them occupied. Maybe Ronon wouldn't mind if she also went to do a quick errand.
About an hour later, Rodney walked back towards the jumper. Halling had wanted to talk to him about the irrigation ditches the Atlanteans had created for the Athosians. Rodney looked up in surprise when Teyla fell into step with him. "Weren't you with the kids?" he asked.
"They are with Ronon. He agreed to watch them while I spoke to Charna."
"You left them alone with him? Aren't you worried he'll, I don't know, use them for target practice or something?"
"No more than I am worried about him using you for target practice! Why don't you like children?"
"I never said I didn't like them!" Rodney squirmed when he saw the look on Teyla's face. "OK, OK, it's true that I'm not very fond of kids, but -- come on! They're noisy, always underfoot, and a huge waste of time!"
The look on Teyla's face became speculative, and she gave Rodney a sly grin. "You were outsmarted by a child, weren't you?"
"I do not believe you, Dr. McKay."
"What a pity. Perhaps you were just having a bad day. It's nothing to be ashamed of, although a real genius would..." Teyla laughed to herself as she watched Rodney. He was doing an excellent impression of a particular Athosian beast that pawed the ground when it was angry. She half expected him to snort and charge at her.
"Outsmart isn't really the right word," said Rodney. "It was more a matter of being outmaneuvered."
"Just tell me what happened!" Teyla snapped in her best leader's voice. Once again she had to hide a laugh as Rodney gulped and started talking. Men were so easily persuaded...
"I was about 15 years old, and the family next door asked me to watch their precious little boy while they spent an evening out. I didn't want to, but my parents insisted. Said it would be a good way for me to become 'socialized.' I tried to make the best of it, figuring that I would be doing a good deed for the kid by exposing him to my brilliance."
"How very... magnanimous of you," Teyla said with a suspicious amount of amusement.
"Yes, well, I can be nice sometimes if I want to," replied Rodney. He looked over as Teyla began coughing wildly. "Are you okay?"
"Fine, fine," she nodded, trying to regain her composure.
"Right, where was I? Oh yes, I thought that the boy would benefit from a first-hand look at how I tackled everyday problems. Unfortunately... um, he didn't see it quite that way."
"What did he do to you?"
"Locked me in a closet," Rodney muttered.
This time Teyla did burst out laughing. "I'm sorry," she gasped. "But that's just too perfect." Rodney scowled at her, and she tried to school her face into a more sober expression. Then she gave up and started laughing again. "What happened when his parents returned?"
Rodney glared at her. "Their response was pretty much the same as yours." He sighed and then gave her a faint smile. "The look on my own parents' faces almost made it worthwhile."
"Poor Dr. McKay," Teyla said with mock sadness. "But don't worry. I'm sure we can make you safe for children with a little practice."
"Huh. I'd like to see Ronon do any better."
Teyla didn't say anything when she and Rodney reached the jumper. She didn't have to; the sight before them said it all. The four children were sitting in a semicircle in front of Ronon, listening intently as the runner told them a tale. He suddenly made a hideous-looking face as he described a monster, and the kids giggled happily. They appeared to be on their best behavior. No running around, throwing things, or any other hijinks.
"How is he doing that?" asked Rodney in disbelief.
Ronon overheard, and gave Rodney a big, toothy grin. "Nothing to it, McKay. It's child's play."