Thawing Out

Plan A, He thought as he stepped into the gate room. A hot shower, a hot meal, a steaming hot cup of coffee. Ah, to be warm and comfortable again. Hell, he was from Canada where, sure, it snows. But that didn't mean he had to like the stuff. A little snow was one thing, but this planet had been downright ridiculous. Oh, yippee! A nice balmy stroll in the arctic…..Anyone? No?? Hmm?? He closed his eyes as the relative warmth of the gate room enveloped his senses. Fatigue became more evident as the permafrost of the past three days relented to the civilized atmosphere of his home away from home.

Three days. Three whole days spent trekking a frigid Klondike in pursuit of ZedPM's rumored to be nestled beneath the planet's surface at a location known only to the planet's sole inhabitants. No kidding, just you guys? Huh. Would've thought everyone was dying to come here on holiday. He had kept his comments to himself with unbelievable restraint in hopes that the mission would be expedited thus returning him sooner than later from the winter wonderland otherwise known as MX7-998. Whether or not the planet held anything of value to the people of Atlantis was anybody's guess. What a waste. The tribal spokesperson mentally dubbed Nanook of the North by Rodneyhad found a certain entertainment value in watching the strange new neighbors who showed up on his doorstep for an intergalactic "cup of sugar" run around for days with incomplete directions and just enough information to make a gaming sport of it. The bet was on. Just how long would these interlopers put up with all the fun and games this vast and wonderful land had to offer.

Sheppard being his oh so clever self had decided that "Hoth the Ice Planet" had a better ring to it than MX7-998. And, while decidedly appropriate, the constant Star Wars references were beginning to wear thin. Rodney's mind's eye and half-thawed imagination wandered to a scene from one of the cinematic wonder's installments in which a recently deceased beast was split asunder in order to garner whatever life-saving heat radiated from within. Huh, it coulda come to that, it was colder than a witch's…..oh for the…….thanks for the disgusting imagery Sheppard…….. Truly disturbing. How exhausted must I be, …. Star Wars for god sake. Overrated at best. Now, Star Trek on the other hand …….

His musings were interrupted by John, Teyla, and Ronan shedding a mission's worth of snow and ice. Stamping their boots, chuffing and exhaling the frosty air of "Hoth the Ice Planet" the relief was palpable at having left behind one of the most futile and embarrassing efforts since their arrival in the Pegasus Galaxy. Yep, the mission report was going to be a fascinating romp. Attention George Lucas: Not all planets are teaming with "the Force." He choked back what might have become a full fledged laugh if left unchecked. I am soooo tired. Forget "plan A." Time to make a revision to "plan B." The late dinner and coffee he could do without. He just didn't think he could function much beyond a nice hot shower. Besides, there was a cache of snacks in his quarters that could rival a corner Stop-n-Shop. As a jaw-cracking yawn escaped at risk of sucking all available oxygen from the room, he was startled by Colonel Sheppard giving his shoulder a nudge.

"Off in la-la land already McKay?"

"Wh-What? Did you say something?" He hated to admit that he was slow on the uptake, but he really wasn't firing on all blasters. Someone had mentioned breakfast, and a mission report meeting. The details, however, were fuzzy at best. In the interest of achieving unconscious bliss with utmost expediency, he added: "Yeah, OK, whatever" as he plodded out of the gate room.

Turning to his team mates, Sheppard asked "What's up with that?" McKay had been uncharacteristically quiet during the mission and now wasn't even broadcasting his disgust at having wasted his precious time and energy. Under normal circumstances the physicist was capable of running endless commentary flavored with sarcasm and a dollop of complex scientific jargon thrown in, all at warp speed. All conversation had been minimal since arriving back in Atlantis thus attesting to the level of exhaustion felt by the whole team. As puddles of melting snow and ice were abandoned on the gate room floor, a shrug of Ronan's massive shoulders was the only indication Sheppard's inquiry had been heard.

His mandatory post-mission physical completed, Rodney shuffled toward his quarters barely able to keep his eyes open. There were no untoward physical effects of the past three days that some quality sleep wouldn't undo. Carson had taken the obligatory tests including bloodwork . Upon returning with the results Beckett found a softly snoring Dr. McKay and woke him gently so he could send him on his way.

Rodney's level of exhaustion was multiplied by an overwhelming all-for-naught feeling of failure. There were so many important things he could have been doing instead of running around like some kind of Iditerod wanna-be in a god-forsaken Tundra hell-hole. For all the effort expended, the only resources they came back with from that rock were snow, ice, and the knowledge that they had been unwitting participants in a special brand of Pegasus Galaxy humor. God knows how much of a set-back some of his projects had suffered. His genius was certainly not a thing to waste. Maybe he should just have that coffee, get down to his lab….make up for lost time.

As if on cue, his inner voice of reason made its presence known. Do all this tomorrow, you certainly could use the rest. The work will be there tomorrow. This was unusual. The voice usually said "sleep when you're dead McKay." ….how many times had he brushed off exhaustion with that phrase?

OH MY GOD NO…..n-n-n-n-n-no! DO NOT, AAARGH. Not that! Anything but that. CRAP. A phrase from a song had crept past his defenses in a moment of weakness, and set up shop running round and round in his head. He tried to avoid actually singing the words out loud. That NEVER helped. Hell, singing would just cement the deal and the damned thing would be running circles inside his brain for days. Powerless to resist in his less than optimal mental state, he let slip with "tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow" …..…….AAARRRGGGHH!!!!!…..DAMN……. Didn't some Broadway rugrat screech at the top of her small but effective lungs about it being "ONLY A DAY AHHHHH-WAAAY!!?" Oh yeah, he was so screwed. The deal was sealed. No choice now but to let it run it's course. Just great! Life-changing scientific calculation traded for mind numbing repetition of that brat's voice in his head. " No work getting done now" he muttered to himself as he headed into his room.

Once showered, snacked, and ensconced in the heavenly comfort and warmth of his own bed, the musical continued to run laps in his head. Dammit, STOP! I am SO not going to listen to some brat screaming about tomorrow all night long. He tossed and turned in frustration until an idea formed. I know what I'll do….. I'll think of clear blue skies, that's it… blue skies. It's worth a try…worked for me before.

As his breathing evened out and the clear blue skies worked their magic, the child-prodigy Broadway musical version of "Tomorrow" gave way to a much softer, less annoying version sung in his own subconscious voice. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow…..it's only ….a day………………away.

As the chorus came around the back stretch for the next lap, he drifted into a deep and much needed sleep.

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The End... Good Night Rodney. :o) ps: I don' t own Stargate Atlantis or the characters, just writing for fun, no money being made...

AN: First Fic EVER!!! Just a shortie to dip my toe in the water!