A/N: Well, some wanted a conversation between Rodney and John. Some were confused about Rodney's miraculous recovery. So the bunnies went tee hee hee and put this little tale in my head. Once again, I make references to my previous stories, especially Specter. It's not a continuation. It's more like rumination. Spoilers upto Aurora and green with envy for those of you already in the second half of the season.

Disclaimer: They're not mine, they're not mine, they're not mine. They belong to the powerful entertainment industry. Enjoy.


Chapter 1

And Rodney…

And Rodney…well, he had laid in the forest with his dead team…

"Like Play-doh? Like Play-doh?" McKay yelled loud enough for everyone in the infirmary to hear. "I had to pull myself to where you were! I had to watch bugs crawl in and out of you! I had to watch a bird peck at Teyla's ear. You come into my head and threaten me? I don't think so!"

"You were hiding again. Cocooning yourself away. That doesn't instill a lot of trust in your capabilities for self-healing McKay!" Sheppard yelled back and then gasped. That little temper flare had hurt like a mother… "Wait, did you say bugs?" He gasped again; damn had to stop doing that. He was panting now.

Carson came running over and hissed at the two of them, "Shut up the both of you! Talk civilized or McKay you're out!" He glared at them for a moment, checked Sheppard quickly and retreated pointing menacingly at McKay.

Sheppard and McKay were still shooting daggers at each other until McKay sheathed his.

"I was scared. I couldn't stop…help…do anything." He sagged. "Then your there and home, I couldn't not see you. All of you. I knew I wasn't the evil I was purporting. My soul was still firmly intact. She was the depths I thought I had sunk. I was wrong. Thanks."

"Colonel Sheppard?" A young voice interrupted. "Colonel Sheppard, this is your wake-up call."

John woke up in his bed, in his room. That's right, his alarm clock had met an untimely (pun intended even if it was to himself) end. He had thrown it against a wall and smashed it during his stint as a bug. Poor thing had dared to turn on and he took all his frustrations out on it. He kept forgetting to requisition a replacement.

"Thanks airman, I'm up." Groggily, he looked over at his nifty timepiece on the side table and grabbed it. The thing had an alarm; it just never woke him up unless they were off-world. 5:30 a.m. Three hours until their mission for either…warning people of an imminent culling or trading for apples. One was Lorne's and one was his, he just couldn't remember which one was which. Apples, he had the apples. He and his team were playing Johnny Appleseed today. Apple-like was more accurate, but they had a nice crunch.

He shook his head clear, got up and took care of business. He moved into the next phase of his morning routine, the shower. It was always nice to smell Irish Spring fresh when meeting and negotiating with folk. They tended to appreciate it.

He traced the scar on his chest as he stood under the water. It was not a dream so much as a cloudy memory from a few months back. He just kind of stayed in it. Not progressing and not regressing, it just kept replaying. And he knew why. It was unfinished business. He shut off the shower. He would revisit it later when his jaunt in the orchard was over. He stepped out and proceeded to dress.

Mess hall was next on the agenda. Grabbing his tray, he began his pointing and picking up and placing of vittles on the plate/tray. He grabbed his silverware and turned to locate his team. Spotting them near one of the large windows, he slapped his good morning grin on and picked his way through the chairs and tables to where they were sitting. He walked into the middle of their conversation.

"How many times now?" McKay asked Ronon.


McKay looked up at Sheppard and squinted. "You've created a monster, Colonel."

"Oh yeah? How so?" He asked as he placed his tray down on the table.

"X-men, Chewbacca here has seen X-men and X-2 twenty-five times…Is it each?"

Ronon nodded shoving eggs into his mouth.

"Each," reiterated McKay with a look-see-there face.

Sheppard smiled, "Well, I've heard anytime someone wants to watch Sixth Sense it's in your room."

McKay scowled stopping short of sticking his tongue out.

"If warriors such as those were real, the Wraith would not stand a chance," said Ronon pointing his fork at Sheppard and McKay. "The one with the eyebeams, Cyclops, I could've used that as a Runner."


Sheppard, McKay and Dex looked at Teyla.

"She can have any power she wants and use it at will." Teyla did not look at any of them as she continued eating. "She is the most powerful and lethal. I like her."

"I'll allow that," answered McKay.

"Always liked Gambit. He's not in the movies," Sheppard pointed out. "His ability to blow things up was cool and all, but what I really liked was- he did it with style. Gotta admire that." He took a bite of cereal.

The conversation for the rest of breakfast pretty much stayed on the same subject- the pros and cons of each mutant. Sheppard looked down at his watch. It was almost 7:00 a.m. He took one last bite and started clearing away his tray.

"Meet you guys at the pre-mission briefing."

They all acknowledged him as he stood up to leave.

"Don't be late Colonel," McKay said to his back.

Sheppard returned it with a lazy, backhanded wave.

He made his way to a secluded balcony. He needed to collect his thoughts, put his game face on as it were. Get himself ready to barter for green delicious apples.

He took in a deep breath and exhaled it out his nose. He closed his eyes listening to all the familiar Atlantis sounds. Waves, waves, and more waves.

"You're welcome." He paused. "I was…scared too."

"Col. John Sheppard, nuke driver, bug carrier, and Ancient cat-nip is admitting to being scared?" McKay nearly burst he was smiling so broadly.

"Hell yeah, crazy, deranged, nuts and scared."

The smile fell and McKay grew serious, "But not trusting. Didn't trust me to come back on my own…"

"No. I couldn't take the chance."

"Colonel Sheppard we're waiting." Elizabeth sounded annoyed.

He looked at his watch, 7:35. "Oh, sorry, I'm on my way." To go get some yummy scrum-deli-icious apples, he thought. It wasn't as if it was beneath him. It was just…boring.

Less than an hour later with the briefing checked off his list, he watched as Ronon, Teyla and McKay preceded him into the puddle. 8:30 am. They were right on time for a change. He flashed his cocky, drop 'em dead in their tracks grin at Weir and walked towards the ring.

As the toe of his boot broke the surface of the event horizon, he heard Elizabeth say, "Rodney, Katie says to bring back something for her…Rodney?" She was trying to tease McKay.

He stepped all the way in still grinning while Elizabeth waited for the comeback. He would probably catch the end of it when he reached the other side.

Too bad he wouldn't. Because that grin, it doesn't actually work that way.


A/N: Need I even ask folks? The reviews really do help.