Ronon heard McKay's 9mil fire several times.

"Are you sure you didn't get shot in the head instead of the arm! We knew you were safe before we ever got back to Atlantis, you idiot! Of course that was before I found out you'd pumped yourself full of the enzyme! And you STILL haven't given me a straight answer. All you had to do was sit tight and everything would have been just fine! No one expected you to …" Sheppard's voice stopped.

"What? No one expected me to risk my life?"

"Rodney, it's not that. It's not your job to…" and again Sheppard faltered.

Ronon shot Teyla a smug look. She just looked superior and held up a finger.

"So I'm supposed to just sit here being the stupid helpless geek waiting for you to be the big hero?"

"Look what happens when you DON'T!" Sheppard shouted back and one of the Tirellians made a rude gesture before peppering the wall Sheppard and McKay were crouched behind.

Ronon sniggered.

"You know, you can say things about them to me, but not to other people.," Teyla said, her eyes scanning for movement in the undergrowth.

"Things? You mean them being bedmates? Doesn't everyone know that?"

"THAT kind of thing!" Teyla rolled her eyes. "Yes. You can say that to me but not to other people."

Ronon sobered. "I can see McKay being jealous."

Stifling a chuckle, Teyla shook her head. "Earthers are strange. Their culture…, it is not comfortable with warriors being bedfellows."

Ronon snorted a laugh. "Did you just call McKay a warrior?"

"Thank you very much," came McKay's voice snarling back. "It's good to finally know your real opinion of my abilities!"

"Of your abilities? You're a scientist! You don't even remember to make sure your gun is loaded half the time!"

"I knew you wouldn't be able to let that go! Once, just one time I forget to make sure the clip was locked!"

"Once? It only takes once! And it's a damn good thing Teyla was there to save your ass!"

"So now I need TEYLA to save my ass! It's a wonder you let me wander around Atlantis unaccompanied, God only knows when I might stumble over a feral cat!"

"That is it, McKay! You have gone completely psycho! I'm scheduling you an appointment with Heightmeyer myself when we get back."

McKay sniffed. "I'll have you know I'm ALREADY seeing Kate, not for the same reason YOU need to!"

"You know nobody believes you're actually dating her, Rodney!" Sheppard was contemptuous.

Ronon arched an eyebrow, looking triumphant. Teyla just shook her head marginally, a wicked smile playing around her mouth.

"Tinkerbelle," McKay said, sounding incredibly pleased with himself. There was a moment of silence broken only by the odd potshot before Sheppard spoke.

"Is that some kind of code for desperate?"

"Her panties." McKay said succinctly. "They're covered in Tinkerbelle."

"Like you couldn't have found that out rifling through her laundry!"

"All right then," said McKay, coloring. "She's not a natural blonde."

Sheppard shook his head, looking at McKay with pity. "The Daedalus brought Clairol. Half the women in Atlantis aren't natural blondes."

There was an incoherent sound of frustration and then, "She shaves it into a heart."

"You are making that up!" but the look of pity was gone from Sheppard's face.

"Do I look like a man who could make that up?"

Smiling sweetly at him, Teyla held out her hand for the knife, and still shaking his head in shock, Ronon laid it hilt first in her palm.

"You dog, McKay!" Sheppard sounded impressed." I never would have guessed you had it in you."

"Yes, well," McKay answered, starting to sound a little nervous. "I don't kiss and tell, being a gentleman and all that, so let's just keep this between us."

In the sudden silence, his voice rang out clearly. Ronon stuck his head cautiously up over the log to see the Tirellian military waving to them over the bound and unconscious bodies of their attackers.

"I apologize sincerely, friends." It was Commandant Treka, Sheppard's counterpart with the Tirellians. Once he was sure the Lanteans recognized him, he moved cautiously across the clearing towards them. Ronon saw the shock of Col. Sheppard's dark hair come slowly into view, followed by McKay, hand clapped over a graze on his left shoulder, face still flushed with emotion. Teyla carefully attached the sheath of Ronon's best knife to her belt, looking pleased and stood up.

"There is a small but aggressive group that is highly opposed to any kind of off-world trading. They found out about your visit and decided to try and destroy any agreement we might have forged," Treka said. He had taken off his hat and his fingers fretted at the brim. "Please allow me to offer care for your injuries," and he gestured toward McKay and Sheppard.

"Yeah, well, thanks for giving us the heads up on your people." Sheppard's mouth was tight and he brushed the trickle of blood off his cheek impatiently. Treka's men started hauling away the would-be assassins.

"We thought they were contained," responded Treka, a spot of red on each cheek, "and I'm sure you can appreciate we didn't want to worry you over what should not have been a threat."

Ronon glanced down at the log riddled with holes that had sheltered him and Teyla. Treka followed his eyes and his jaw clenched.

"I apologize on behalf of the Tirellian people that you were endangered. I'm sure we can make reparation."

Sheppard shook his head. "Not necessary. We've had internal problems ourselves. Just let us know next time." Treka nodded, looking relieved that Sheppard was being so matter of fact, but then frowned as Sheppard continued. "But I'm sure it's something you'll keep in mind when we come to pick up the supplies next week."

Treka sighed. "Of course. Perhaps we will find something additional to include as a sign of goodwill. There is a drink we brew that is famed for it's ability to forge friendships," and he gazed meaningfully at Sheppard and McKay.

Sheppard's broad smile faltered a little and McKay looked slightly ill. "We'll be looking forward to it."

The Tirellian smirked, bowed and then turned back to supervise the movement of the prisoners.

The colonel glared at McKay. "I think they heard you," he snapped.

"Me," yelped Rodney, flushing again with indignation. "You're the one that was shouting."

Sheppard sighed deeply, then fingered the cut on his forehead. "Think it'll need stitches?"

McKay shook his head. "Though there's no telling what Beckett might want to shoot you up with. Alien bacteria and maybe rock chip fragments. You know how much he loves to inflict pain." They started walking slowly back towards the gate. The birds were beginning to make noise again. Besides a few scorch marks and the holes in the wall and the log, there was nothing to show they'd been fighting for their lives moments before.

"I don't know what you're looking so pleased about. That slice on your arm is definitely going to need sewing up and I heard he was pretty upset about what you said during detox."

McKay snorted. "Carson knows I was out of my head."

Teyla and Ronon fell in a few steps behind them, the breeze cooling Ronon's face. He noticed that despite being so much shorter, Teyla effortlessly matched his pace.

"You know it is highly unlikely that he has slept with Kate Heightmeyer," Ronon observed quietly. "Sheppard doesn't believe it either."

"Yes," Teyla acknowledged easily, "however, the point is, he'd like to, and so would the Colonel on some level. Perhaps that will change after they are exposed to different customs, but for now, they are bonded as brothers, not as mates."

"And by the way, McKay, I knew you'd made it off world the second I saw the Daedalus," Sheppard said casually. "There was no way Hermiod could have figured out the coordinates for where the Hive ship was going."

The tips of McKay's ears reddened and there was a little spring to his step that hadn't been there before. "Of course, Hermiod has his abilities…"

Sheppard smirked. "Very generous of you." He glanced over at McKay. "Do you think he'd be insulted if I bought him a pair of boxer shorts?"

"Fortunate for us they can't have children. Can you imagine what it'd be like?" muttered Ronon under his breath. Teyla didn't respond; when he glanced over he saw she was too busy, admiring her new knife.