Hmmm...let's set this...early season three. Yeah, that works. -nod nod-

-

Never had the sight of a bottle of bubble bath looked so inviting to Laura Cadman.

Pulling her hair out of it's confining pony tail, the tension that had been present in her neck decreased with the release of the painful tightness of the rubber band and she let out a noise that was somewhere between a sigh and a mew.

To say it had been a long day was an understatement.

The only thing that kept her going throughout the ordeal that was today was the thought of being able to return to Atlantis and sink herself up to her neck in scalding bath water.

She was muddy, she was sore and the cheerful pink blob staring up at her from her bottle of Mister Bubbles looked like a knight in shining armor to the overwrought marine.

The bathroom was starting to get steamy as she dumped close to a quarter of the bubble bath into the waiting bathwater and Laura watched the white foam expanding in the confines of the Atlantean bathtub. The familiar smell--one that she had associated with relaxation since her early childhood--made her feel even more at ease and she stripped out of her dirt caked uniform and slipped into the mass of suds.

Ooooh that felt good.

Laura sighed and lay back in the near scalding water, feeling the hardened mud that had found its way under her uniform, getting soaked away.

If only every mission could end in a nice hot bubble bath, she'd be volunteering left and right.

Picking up the little white washcloth that she had set aside, Laura lamented the fact that the opportunity for such luxuries like this was a rare one. Usually, she didn't even have time to get a shower that was longer than ten minutes, much less take an hour long bubble bath. Best to enjoy the company of Mister Bubbles while she could.

This is the life...Her eyes drifted shut and she yawned, stretching her arms above her head leisurely.

Her ears registered the sound of her bathroom door opening but her mind took it's time about recognizing what that noise meant.

The second her brain caught up with what her auditory senses were telling her, she responded accordingly, eyes snapping open and going the size of saucers at what she saw.

"Rodney!" She squeaked, picked up her soaking wet washcloth and reacted before she gave the action--or it's possible consequences--any thought.

It hit him squarely in the face WHAP.

When the white terrycloth peeled away from Rodney McKay's face and hit the floor with a squelchy flop, leaving a trail of bubbles dribbling down his chin, Laura realized what she'd just done.

Not only was he looking incredibly angry, she'd just given up the only piece of fabric nearby that she could possibly conceal her body with.

Laura sank as low in the tub as she could and gathered the amassed bubbles into a strategic formation, so as to cover her more...important bits.

"What the HELL are you doing here?"

McKay flushed momentarily as he wiped the sudsy water off his face, "There was a malfunction reported by Atlantis' sensors...coming from this room. I came to have a look."

"Well you've gotten one!" She snapped before thinking.

He got defensive. "It was accidental! I thought you'd still be in your debriefing!"

"I don't care!" Laura splashed in the tub as violently as she dared, hoping she'd hit him with some of the water that was spraying in his general direction. "Get out!"

"But I-"

"Now, Rodney!"

"I have to find out what was causing the sensors to--"

"So help me, Rodney McKay, if you don't get out of here right this instant, I'm going to let everyone in on every dirty little secret I was privy to while stuck in your head!"

"You wouldn't d-"

"OUT!" She roared, rising out of the tub in her fervor.

Only when the chill of the air hit her torso as she pointed at the door did she realize that she'd sat straight up and was giving Rodney a view he wasn't likely to forget anytime soon.

She squealed in mortification and dove back in the water, going so far as to completely submerge herself.

Laura held her breath as long as she could and surfaced a few moments later to find her bathroom thankfully empty.

Well, so much for relaxing!

----

Outside the quarters of Laura Cadman, Rodney McKay was whistling in a self satisfied manner as he walked down the corridor, leaving a few wet footprints in his wake.

It took him almost a year to find just the right moment to get even with her, but at last, all his planning had come to fruition.

After all, she had seen him naked...it was only fair that he get to do the same.

-

A/N: This has been in my head since...oh man...waaaaay back. Like, last summer. -grins stupidly-

It's nice to be back working on my patron 'ship again.

Written in response to the one hundred themes challenge on the When Plot Bunnies Attack forum, number one hundred: relaxation.

And holy crap...I just realized this is my eighty fifth story on this site. I'm impressed with myself.