WEIRD KID - by NotTasha
PART 3: DESSERT
It didn't take long, and the meal was over, pots were empty. McKay had suffered through seconds and thirds, and was taking an extra piece of pegram cake home with him. Even so, he looked a little disappointed when it came to an end. There was nothing left to eat.
McKay packed his Life Sign Detector, along with the cake. "I suppose we should be going," he stated.
"You are welcome to stay longer," Norene invited warmly. "We would be happy if you remained."
"It has been good to talk with you," Cahal went on. She reached out a hand as if she wanted to grasp McKay's but he was busy shouldering his pack.
"Yeah, well, it's been nice," McKay told her. "But… you know… We'd ah… just get in the way if we stayed much longer." And his gaze narrowed on the dirty dishes as if he was afraid he'd be roped into cleaning. He stood warily. "And we have to get back."
Teyla smiled first at Rodney, then at the sisters. "It is true," she reiterated as she got to her feet. "We do need to go. We are needed at home."
She saw the slight change in the sisters' expressions, and she realized what she had said. It was the truth, though. As much as she liked to believe that the Athosian colony was 'home', Atlantis was what called to her now. "It is best that we return," she concluded.
"Yeah," McKay confirmed, "As lovely as this all has been, I have work to do." And he nodded toward the tent flap. "Gotta go. Chop chop."
"Chop chop!" Nash echoed cunningly.
Teyla smiled at Norene and Cahal, thanking them dearly. McKay watched the boy with an unsure expression. The physicist edged toward the door.
"Dr. McKay?" Teyla stated, turning toward her companion.
"Huh? What?" McKay responded, and noted the little head bob that Teyla made toward the daughters of Lobel. "Oh yeah, thanks," McKay added, pushing back the tent flap. "It was great. I mean, really tasty." He frowned, finding fingerprints on his sleeve. With a grimace he rubbed at them.
Nash made a gleeful little sound.
"You are welcome back any time," Norene told him.
"Sure," McKay responded looking a little uncomfortable at the attention as he regarded the outdoors. He pursed his lips in annoyance, finding that night had fallen while he'd been occupied. "Gotta go. Yeah, thanks. Sorry. Things to do and all. But yeah, it was great. Thanks, okay?" And he made a little wave.
He let the flap fall behind him as Teyla said her formal goodbyes within, damning himself for always being so uncomfortable in these situations. Alone, he pulled a flashlight from his pack before he settled the bag on his back again. Remembering something, he turned with an "Oh!", to find Nash standing beside him, the Gameboy in his hand.
Nash offered it up, his faced filled with a gratitude that McKay couldn't quite comprehend.
"Yeah, right," McKay made a move to take it from the Nash just as Teyla came through the flap.
Rodney let his arm fall to his side. "Might as well keep it," he told the boy. "I mean, it's really pretty dated and everything and it's probably all sticky now. It's not like I don't have better games on my laptop, you know? Not like I have time to play any of them anyway. Keep it."
The boy instantly clutched the game to his chest, looking as if he might levitate off the ground with glee. "Thank you," he whispered.
"No problem," McKay returned in a disinterested tone.
Almost as an afterthought Nash turned toward Teyla and held out one hand, graspingly, as he called, "Please? Please?" The other hand had a death grip on the game.
Teyla smiled at him and pulled the chocolate bar from her pocket. Depositing it in the boy's hand. "A promise is a promise," she said softly and smiled at his beaming face.
Nash quickly squirreled the candy into his pocket. He did not release his hold on the game.
Beside her, McKay looked a little upset to see the candy disappear so quickly. Finally, he broke off his stare of incredulity and stated, "Well, see ya. Bye, kid." He turned, leaving the boy behind as he stalked toward the jumper, shining the light before him.
Teyla quickly came alongside him. "That was very kind of you," she told him. "To give him the toy."
"Like I said, I don't have time to play it and he's probably ruined it, so it's no big deal."
She cocked her head slightly and asked, "Then why were you carrying it in your pack? It seems that it would only add weight to an already heavy bag."
"Well," McKay said and scowled. "How the hell should I know? I received the box from my sister and had nowhere else to put it. Just needed to offload it somewhere. It's better that someone gets some enjoyment from it. The chocolate was a bigger loss."
Teyla didn't respond as she sunk her hands into her pockets and kept pace beside her companion. After all, she knew where she could find a few more bars of chocolate. She doubted that a similar toy existed in this galaxy.
"Carson's seen that kid, hasn't he?" Rodney asked after a moment. "I mean, is there something... wrong with him?"
Teyla nodded, stating, "He has been seen. Dr. Heightmeyer visits regularly. They are keeping a watch on him."
"Ah good... good. Someone should, you know."
They made their way quickly to the jumper and Rodney opened the hatch. He turned around once, and peered into the darkness behind them, before he harrumphed and entered the ship.
They quickly settled into their seats, and Rodney closed the rear hatch, and started poking at the controls. Teyla watched him, smiling. Suddenly his head pivoted and caught her. "What?"
"Thank you," she said genuinely.
McKay looked flummoxed. "What for?" he asked. "If it's for coming here to pick you up, that was Sheppard's deal. He bamboozled me into doing it." He brought the jumper online.
"Thank you for coming to dinner. It meant a lot to Cahal and Norene, and to Nash as well."
With a jerk of a shoulder, McKay continued at his work. "I had to eat somewhere," he grumbled.
She continued to smile, watching his focused work as he fiddled with the controls. "It was as I promised," she stated emphatically.
"What?" McKay's head shot up.
"I promised you that the evening would be enjoyable, that the food would be good."
With an annoyed expression, McKay corrected her, "You promised me that it would not be 'painful'… your word." As Teyla pondered, trying to remember exactly what she'd said, McKay went on, "And it was pretty damn painful for me. I had to sit on a hard wooden bench, I have kid prints all over my sleeve and I know I'm going to have issues with this shoulder because I had to work with it in an odd position all evening." He rotated the shoulder in question to illustrate his point. "Kids should sit in their own seats. I'm just sayin'. And I think he may have bit me on the foot at some point before he got out from under that table. And kids are just snot bags, carriers of disease. I'm probably coming away with some exotic variant of the common cold." He snorted, as if he meant to sneeze, but couldn't call one up.
He went on. "And knowing my luck in making snap decisions regarding people. He's just going to break that Gameboy or toss it in the corner and forget about it."
Teyla had no response to that. She could only shake her head in wonder. As she turned her head, she caught sight of the boy in question, coming into view in front of the ship.
McKay had spotted him too. "What's he doing here alone?" he asked. "Seems pretty darn reckless."
She explained, "This is his home. The community is nearby and surely his Aunts are watching."
McKay responded with a quiet "Hmmm", and finished the start up phase. "Does someone need to tell him to stand back?"
"He is safe where he is standing."
"But what if he moves? I mean he might come charging right in and…"
"He will not move."
"Well then, we might as well get going before he does something." McKay's gaze remaining on the child as one hand lowered to the controls. He waved, making the gesture look like a demand to 'back up'. The boy waved back with one hand, the other kept the Gameboy safe at his chest.
McKay brought the jumper to hover over the ground, putting several feet beneath them.
Nash jumped up and down excitedly.
"Weird kid," McKay said, gesturing again and uttered a quiet, "Bye," before he adjusted the controls and the jumper shot forward, into the night sky.
The boy kept jumping even as they shot out of sight.
"Really, really weird kid."
Teyla had to agree. There was something a little strange about a child that took such a liking to Dr. Rodney McKay.
"They should keep an eye on him because he's just the type to do something you don't expect. Could be anything."
"This is true," Teyla stated. "One has difficulty understanding such a person."
"Yeah, well… I'll have to bring him some batteries next time I'm out here," McKay said offhand. "That Gameboy eats right through them. Maybe I can rig up some sort of a rechargeable unit… something solar powered. Yeah. That'd do."
And Teyla smiled, understanding a little.
yeah, I know. It's just a weird little story. Hope you liked it