Characters: McKay, Sheppard, Zelenka, TEAM, Other
SUMMARY: Their actions could not have cut deeper than by confirming his suspicions – Rodney was tolerated because of the things he could do, but he had no real friends on Atlantis. When it had come time to prove otherwise, Rodney had stood alone against Greenwall.
NOTES: I would like to thank Laryn, my absolutely fantastic Beta! I can not even begin to say how much she has taught me in the process of editing this story. So, Laryn, thank you for all of your help and your guidance! Now please, enjoy the story.
Leaning back as far as his ergonomic metal chair would allow, Carson Beckett sighed and rubbed tiredly at his eyes. He'd been sitting in the same position long enough that his hunched shoulders ached and his arse had passed the tingling stage and moved straight to no feeling at all. His eyes felt gritty, his head was beginning to throb from staring at a computer screen too long, and his wrists hurt from typing. He was feeling down right wabbit and wanted nothing more than to escape to the mess hall to sample some of their latest dishes. However, he was almost finished with his work and he had never been the type to quit when the end was so near. So with a long suffering sigh he flexed his fingers and was just leaning forward when he heard the door to his infirmary slide open.
Carson was already standing from his desk as the city's resident genius, and one of his closest friends, stormed into the room with a deep frown on his face. He took one look at Rodney's unhappy expression and knew that he'd somehow done something wrong before the man had even opened his mouth. Carson didn't have to wait long to find out what it was.
"You were supposed to meet me over forty-five minutes ago," Rodney accused, crossing his arms and narrowing his eyes at Carson as though he was expecting him to come up with a brilliantly fabricated excuse. Carson immediately felt guilty, because he had completely forgotten to call his friend to let him know he couldn't make it.
"I'm sorry Rodney, I had no time te meet with you today and I fergot to give ye a ring. Why didn't ye call instead of coming all the way over here?"
"Oh I don't know, maybe because I did and you never answered." Ah, right, his ear piece was sitting beside his computer in an attempt to avoid any distractions. He had assumed that if anyone really needed him they would page him on the overhead systems. He was about to apologize again when Rodney abruptly turned around and stormed away, before twisting sharply on his heel and coming right back. He was really upset about this, and that took Carson by surprise.
"Look," Rodney stated, "I know you're a busy man, but the least you could do is tell me that you don't have time for me instead of hiding away in your office! And, since we're on the topic, if you're so disillusioned with my ability to conduct safe, controlled tests with your participation then just say no the next time I ask for your help." He snapped and Carson stood taller with astonishment.
"I 'ave not been disillusioned!" He bit right back.
"Oh, so you're refusing to lend me a hand out of spite then!"
"What? Spite! What are you going on about, Rodney?" He asked incredulously. "I have a stack of paperwork as tall as the gate that needs to be finished before the Daedalus departs! I have nay time to help you out today, and I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier but I assure you that was all it was." Carson frowned as Rodney turned his glare away to stare across the room, frustrated, before he rubbed a hand across his eyes and finally looked back at Carson, slightly mollified. Carson was suddenly alerted to how tired his friend appeared. "Rodney? Is everythin' all right?"
"Hmm, what? Yeah, it's fine," he waved a hand in the air dismissively. "Things are great, why wouldn't they be? Look, just let me know when you have a moment to help out. I can't study this tool and activate it at the same time. All right? Good. Great," and the Canadian turned on the spot and left the infirmary as quickly as he had breezed in. Carson watched the door slide shut behind his friend with sudden concern. Rodney usually looked tired, he had for the short time Carson has known him on Earth, and even more so on Atlantis because the insomniac spent extra hours researching and running his department when he should have been sleeping. No, Carson thought, Rodney usually looked tired, but he rarely showed this level of weariness.
Of course, it was to be expected. Rodney wasn't the easiest person to get along with under the most pleasant of circumstances and he was still dealing with the fallout from Doranda. On top of that Carson knew he was having some difficulty with the newest members of the expedition; they hadn't yet seen Rodney engineer miracles from a combination of too much caffeine and too little sleep, but Carson suspected that more than a few of the original members were still upset as well.
Rodney hadn't mentioned so much as a word to Carson about any of it, of course, but he knew something was going on between his friend and the people of Atlantis. Rodney did not deal well with failure, especially failure that cost a human life, and more than one overheard comment placed the blame for Collin's death squarely on Rodney's shoulders. It wasn't a fair accusation. The decision to explore the Ancient outpost had been a joint one and though Collin's death had been tragic, it was an accident. Yet Rodney was hardly in a position to defend himself against whispered accusations given recent events. Nay, it wasn't fair, but it did explain his friend's defensive behaviour and his recently increased avoidance of public areas like the cafeteria.
Carson shook his head in dismay. He really did have a load of work to do, but if he kept at it now maybe he could drag Rodney out to dinner and ensure that the man ate more than power bars and MRE's tonight. The Daedalus was currently unloading its latest shipment: maybe there would be some delightful morsel that would cheer Rodney up. Then Carson was going to have a sit down with Sheppard and make him aware of his concern.
Dr. Elizabeth Weir stepped away from her desk and stretched, feeling her spine pop in relief. She'd been sitting at her desk for the better part of four hours finalizing the last of her reports for O'Neill and the SCG (something she always put off until the last minute). Now that it was done, however, she could relax and explore all the goodies that Caldwell had just finished beaming to Atlantis. She really hoped there was some bubble bath in this shipment. A nice long soak would do her wonders.
"Dr. Weir, I presume?" A man announced suddenly from behind her. Behind her in a room that should have been void of anyone but herself. She inhaled sharply and jerked around, her hand reaching quickly to her communicator, prepared to call for help if need be. She paused, however, her hand hovering over her ear as she saw that the intruder now standing before her was wearing a civilian science uniform, an American flag sitting proudly on his left arm. He smiled at her, and then with a sheepish look bowed his head.
"I apologize, Doctor Weir," he said smoothly. "When Caldwell said he was beaming me down to see you I had expected to show up in the gate room, not your office." She eyed him keenly. So this was apparently a sanctioned visit. Ever the politician she smiled back, wondering what the hell was going on.
"Apology accepted, though I will admit I'm a bit startled. I don't believe we've met."
"You would be correct. I'm Archie Greenwall, Doctor Archie Greenwall." He grinned happily and she took his proffered hand, noting the firm and welcome handshake. She smiled back, feeling a bit better knowing his name and, seeing that she wasn't in any form of danger, she relaxed.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Doctor, even though I'm not sure why you're here exactly." He frowned at her in confusion, scratching behind his ear with a rather endearing nervous gesture.
"You didn't receive our communiqué I take it?"
"No, I'm afraid not," she shook her head to express this lack of knowledge. He began looking slightly sheepish again, though he still exuded his charming confidence. As far as first impressions went she was finding it difficult not to like him. He moved to her desk and placed the case he had been carrying on it, efficiently opening and pulling a manila envelope from its innards. He handed it to her with little fuss.
"I've been stationed here, Dr. Weir, as the new Chief of Science."