Desert Blossom-by-the-Sea requested this...blame her! Even though I had the idea...she's the one who wanted to see it happen! -points accusingly-

Also, if you read this before, give it another looksie. It took like, three days to change it because my computer has gone bonkers and refused to let me upload a file to ff dot net.

And my mouse isn't working...this doesn't bode well.

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Rodney McKay blinked slowly. His eyes were dull and glassy, his eyelids drooping with the extreme fatigue experienced by one who hasn't had any coffee lately.

It was not an uncommon sight in the Atlantis labs to find an extremely tired scientist burning the candle at both ends, working on some break through late into the night, so when Colonel John Sheppard passed the open door to Rodney's lab, he was not surprised to find his friend sitting stooped over, neck bent at an almost unnatural angle as he considered the calculations that were, no doubt, flooding the screen of the little silver laptop in front of him.

John watched as the astrophysicist scrubbed a hand tiredly over his jaw as he continued staring at the screen, deep in thought.

"Rodney?"

McKay just grumbled low in his chest as an affirmation that he had heard the Colonel. Clearly he was not in a talkative mood, which meant he was really exhausted. To get that man to shut up took a kind of fatigue that was beyond the mere adjective of 'tired'.

Sheppard approached from the side, and saw the deep purple circles that had taken up residence under Rodney's eyes. His face was scruffy, like he hadn't shaved in a couple of days.

Which was almost expected nowadays. Whenever Rodney was deeply entrenched in his work he tended to forgo sleeping at night and the morning rituals that usually accompanied it, like shaving and brushing his teeth.

John had quickly learned that if you wanted to know just how bad things were in the city, all you had to do was see how bad the science staff looked.

If they appeared to have had a shower recently (meaning that they had enough time to leave the lab and actually take one), then there wasn't a major crisis going down.

If they all looked like extras in a Romero movie however, then you could bet you were in it pretty damn deep and that it was taking all their combined effort to insure the continued safety of the general population.

That's exactly how Rodney looked now, but Sheppard knew for a fact that there were no major crises occuring on Atlantis. So he could only assume that the obsessive man was working on one of his own little projects.

Sheppard crossed his arms over his chest and looked at McKay, "You should get some sleep."

McKay shifted in his seat to look at the Colonel head on, his skin shining in the light with a pallor that Sheppard was certain hadn't been there a few days ago. His eyes looked sunken in due to the horribly dark eggplant colored shadows beneath them, giving him the appearance of someone who'd recently had the crap kicked out of them.

John was appalled, "My God, Rodney, you look like hell!"

One of McKay's eyes twitched as he narrowed them at Sheppard, studying him intently for a moment before he turned back to his laptop to stare at it.

"Rodney, you need to sleep."

Rodney lazily placed one hand on the keyboard, not paying any attention to the insistance of the leader of Atlantis' military personnel that he should go to be.

John got mildly annoyed. The silent treatment. So that's how it's gonna be. Well, we'll see about that.

"C'mon Rodney, go to bed," Sheppard walked up to the desk and picked up the laptop, intent on closing it, "Whatever you're working on, I'm sure it can wait until-"

John Sheppard stopped speaking abruptly and stared at the laptop in his hands.

The inactive laptop in his hands.

He stared at the computer for a few moments more, completely confused.

Why was the laptop turned off? If it was off, what had he been staring at all that time?

John looked up at Rodney, puzzlement on his face as surely as if the word itself had been scribbled across his forehead in black Sharpie. "Rodney, what the hell?"

McKay, who hadn't even twitched when the Colonel had removed the laptop from his field of vision, slowly turned in his seat to stare at Sheppard from beneath lazy eyelids.

John didn't like the look on the scientist's face, not one little bit.

"Rodney?"

Rodney's kneecaps made a popping sound as he stood quickly and lunged at the unprepared man in front of him, knocking him to the ground and restraining him with inhuman strength before the Colonel even had time to think about reacting.

"BRAAAAAAAAAAAINS!"

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A/N: It's just not Halloween without Zombie!Rodney.

This is the last response I'm going to write for the Halloween challenge. I promise. I swear! Not one more!

Uh...well, right after the evil toaster one.

What? Don't look at me that way...