Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate Atlantis or anything found therein.

A/N: Alright, so on Gateworld people were talking about how it was strange that in 'Tao of McKay', Rodney wasn't sitting with the team during the one lunch scene. During the discussion I thought this reason up and thought it would make a good fic. There is no ship in this, just friendship.


Teyla exchanged a concerned look with Ronon as Rodney and John caught up with them in the hallway on the way to the mess hall. They had heard that Rodney had encountered a strange Ancient device, though they had not heard the details. Still, from experience Teyla knew that this had the potential to be very bad. Though she had been raised to revere the Ancestors, since coming to Atlantis Teyla had learned that those she had thought of as near-gods were just human. Humans with special abilities, but still just humans who made human mistakes.

Rodney, though, did not seem to be worried and so the two Pegasus natives could only conclude that either he was not affected by whatever the device was…or that he was not showing any affects at the moment. Teyla made a mental note to try and keep an eye on the scientist.

When the team reached the mess, they settled into the familiar routine. Teyla and John both quickly picked what they wanted from the mess line and grabbed a table for the team. Ronon took a little longer as he usually grabbed more food than the others. And Rodney stood in line complaining and berating the staff for inadequate selections and slightly old fruit. While the scientist waited impatiently in line for the server to get him fresher grapes, the rest of the team sat at the table and rolled their eyes.

John gave a smirk. "Well I guess the machine really didn't change his personality as Elizabeth hoped." Ronon returned the smirk and Teyla had to keep back a sigh. Honestly, it felt sometimes like she was a mother trying to make her three sons be nice to each other. As Ronon and John started making jabs both at Rodney and each other, Teyla made sure to watch her fourth teammate out of the corner of her eye. Just in case.

000000

Well, it's about time. Rodney mentally griped as the grapes arrived. After sniping at the mess staff a little more, he grabbed his tray with one hand and turned his attention to the computer tablet in his other hand. Engrossed in the data in front of him, he followed his ears and found the table his team was sitting at. The conversation was mere background noise as his genius focused on ZPM power levels and shield strength. He knew the team wouldn't mind, he usually did that anyway.

000000

Teyla saw the flash of hurt in John and Ronon's eyes as Rodney deliberately sat down at a table far from the team. She knew it was mirrored in her own eyes. While they understood that Rodney was often engrossed in his work, he always would sit with them at lunch, even if he completely ignored them. Teyla knew that even Ronon was impressed on how the scientist navigated through the tables and chairs, finding his way to their table only by following their voices.

So this hurt. They had all walked here together; Rodney knew they were waiting for him. And yet he deliberately sat apart. Teyla looked over at her other teammates. Both had seemingly brushed off the slight and were talking with each other again. Inevitably, though, the conversation changed course back to Rodney as John related what exactly had happened, as related by Doctor Zelenka. "…so of course they headed straight for the infirmary so Beckett could check him out."

"How's he doing?" Teyla asked, wondering if perhaps Rodney's strange dismissal of them could be from a physical malady caused by the Ancient device.

John shrugged. "Same old Rodney."

Of course, Ronon had to insert his opinion. "You're sure? He looks a couple pounds heavier to me.

Teyla frowned at the Satedan. "Ronon!" she said his name with a warning menace. She knew he was just lashing out a bit, angry at the scientist for just leaving them without a word. Though Ronon often seemed like nothing bothered him, Teyla could tell that he could be hurt easily by those he considered friends.

At the moment, though, he just pretended to be joking. "What? He eats all the time. It's not like he exercises."

And then, of course, John had to join in. "He's feeding his unhappiness."

Teyla turned her glare on the colonel. "You should not say such things about your friend. You are both acting like children."

She would have said more, but she felt eyes on her, so she turned and saw Rodney staring at them. There was a look of surprise on his face before he turned back. Teyla frowned again, wondering at the strange look the scientist had given them.

As Teyla was about to yell at her teammates more, Rodney came up to the table. "For your information, I am exactly the same weight I have been since I got here. I need to eat regularly, otherwise I become hypoglycemic; and I am generally a very happy person."

Teyla could not keep the surprise from her face. How had he heard their conversation from so far away? Not even Ronon's hearing was that good. Her mind was starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together when the team was called to the Control Room. Filing away her thoughts for a later time, Teyla followed John as they left the room.

Little did any of them know what the following days would hold for their team and the rest of their family on Atlantis.