Summary: McKay has been allergic to citrus as long as he can remember… right?
A/N: This is a short little piece, inspired back in May 2006 by Syera at thread "Things they would never ever, ever say" (post 1225 in case you're wondering).
Thanks to angw for her fabulous beta skills :)
Recubo en Citrus
"You should be dead." Carson looked directly at Rodney, flabbergasted that the other man was alive and well, except for the case of muscle fatigue.
Rodney crossed his arms, the maroon-colored scrubs making him match his two male teammates who had come down with the same symptom. "That's a little harsh, isn't it? What I'd do? Hmm? What about them?" He pointed accordingly to the others.
Carson continued to stare, hugging the tablet pc that displayed the results so clearly. At first he thought the samples were contaminated, but having all three runs be contaminated was highly improbable. "It's what you ate."
John was perched on the end of his infirmary bed, finding it partially taken over by Ronon who had decided sitting on his own put him too far away from the activity. "We ate the same thing, so whatever it is, shouldn't we be dead too?"
The team collectivity nodded and looked at Carson expectantly. Teyla was the only one who hadn't come down with symptoms, making it possible for Carson to narrow down the possible culprits to a specific dish all three men had eaten while on their last mission.
Though not ill, Teyla made it a point to keep watch in the infirmary over her male teammates, mainly to keep them from killing each other amidst the boredom.
It was difficult.
"No, it's… it's very bizarre," Carson stumbled over his words. "Are you sure you're feeling alright Rodney?"
"Other than not being able to lift my arms and properly work, just dandy."
John rolled his eyes, "It's not that bad."
"Yes it is! I can't believe your scrawny butt isn't more affected."
"He didn't eat as much as you did, McKay." Ronon interjected with the slightest hint of teasing.
Rodney protested, "You ate more! You shouldn't be able to move."
Ronon shrugged, "I'm more resilient."
Rodney snarked, "A caveman like you shouldn't even know that word."
John quirked his eyebrows, "I can't believe you just said that. His pinky could take you."
Teyla cut off Rodney's reply, "Perhaps you should tell us what you found." Teyla kept it as a suggestion to Carson, she knew they wanted to know what was happening, but they were channeling their worry into bickering.
Carson lost the deer-in-Jumper-lights look and responded in his best just-the-facts voice, "The dish had high levels of citrus. The amount Rodney consumed should have sent him into an extreme anaphylactic shock before you all even left the dining hall."
Rodney's face dropped, "You have to be kidding. The tests are wrong. Tests can be wrong." He shifted on the infirmary bed, his feet twitching nervously.
Carson shook his head, the gears of his mind working out possible explanations, "I've run them three times, they're accurate."
"So why isn't he dead?" John jerked his head over to Rodney, whose face was starting to resemble a tomato.
Teyla suggested, hoping to find a reason for Rodney's miraculous survival, "Perhaps the variety is different and doesn't trigger a response?"
"I've thought of that. I'll be needing to run a few more tests to get the bottom of this." Carson didn't want to believe the other explanation he came up with.
Ronon flatly offered, "Or he's not allergic to citrus."
This one simple suggestion passed over the other occupants of the room with varying effects. Carson looked flabbergasted that Ronon said what the doctor himself didn't want to say, John was stunned for a second but changed into a stone-serious expression, and Rodney wasn't doing so well. He seemed to shrink one hundred times faster than the Incredibly Shrinking Woman as his eyes darted around, attempting not to look at any of them.
John drawled, "Rodney…"
"What?" Rodney snapped, his nervousness still present.
"Is there something you'd like to tell us?" John asked through clenched teeth, but trying to keep his voice nonchalant. It didn't work very well.
Rodney shook his head and waved his hands around and spoke at lightning pace, "No, I'm deathly allergic. Been all my life, found out when I was a little kid. It was summertime and Jeannie had a lemonade stand-"
This time John didn't even try to be nonchalant. "You're terrible at poker, McKay."
Before anyone else could get a word in, Rodney slid off the infirmary bed, "I'm just-" he jabbed a thumb towards the exit and was gone.
John instantly ran off after him, followed by Ronon (to watch them) and Teyla (to stop them if punches started to be thrown).
A good quarter of Atlantis personnel were witness to the flagship team, three in burgundy scrubs and slippers, shuffling through the halls.
The men were still under the effects of muscle fatigue, while Teyla stayed a few steps behind, quietly finding the view hilarious, but tagging along to defuse the situation if it came to blows.
John finally trapped Rodney in a large corner that had been modified into a mini-lounge, complete with cushy chairs and endtables, and panted out "I can't believe you lied!"
"I wasn't lying!"
Teyla and Ronon, neither breaking a sweat, caught up to the pair.
Before John could yell back, Teyla cut in calmly in an attempt to ease the situation, "How did we all come to believe about your allergy?"
Rodney swallowed, knowing he wasn't going to get out of this without explaining what happened. As lame as it was. "It started out at the SGC with a flippant comment and ended up carrying on, ended up on my file. What was I supposed to do? Say 'You know how I said I was allergic to citrus? I lied.' "
"Yes, you should have, McKay! It's not that hard!"
"Why pretend to have another weakness?"
"Hey! "Rodney snapped to Ronon, "I don't have weaknesses, only character. It's what makes me as brilliant as I am."
There was a rather uncomfortable lull in the conversation until some of tension floated away as the Earth-natives caught their breaths. Both silently blaming the exhaustion on the food from the mission.
John crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows, "So, I've been carrying around an epi-pen for three years for no reason?"
"You have?" Rodney continued without a hint of snark, "That's touching, really. I didn't know that."
"So have I."
Rodney eyes passed from Teyla to Ronon, who merely shrugged a 'yes.'
He wrung his hands, "Thanks…uh…" The tone of Rodney's voice changed away from touched to protective, "Well, you know they could still come in handy. One never knows when one of us will have a reaction to anything."
John shifted his weight, still feeling the effects of the strange toxin, "This is something you tell your teammates."
"So you carry around a dose of epinephrine, there's no harm in that." Rodney collapsed on one of the chairs, the adrenaline from his attempted escape wearing off.
"You lied, McKay." John emphasized as he also sat down, a little disappointed Rodney didn't trust them, him, enough to say something.
Rodney held up a finger, "Correction, I merely didn't correct anyone on the subject."
Teyla remarked, "It's comparative."
Ronon, while looking directly at Rodney with the slightest hint of a smile, added, "He should be reprimanded."
"What? No, no, no. There's no need for punishment."
Ronon continued over Rodney's protests, "A little-"
John interjected, "No."
"Or we could-"
Ronon grunted, "You're going to let him get away with this?"
John grinned, "I didn't say that."
"What are you going to do? You're not going to string me up in the Gateroom are you?"
"Of course not."
Rodney really didn't like the look on John's face.
Exactly seventeen days and one uneventful, waste-of-time mission had passed since the day Rodney's little secret came out.
Rodney's paranoia had gone on heightened alert many times since it just didn't seem right for Sheppard to not do something. To say he was getting a little frazzled waiting for something to happen is an understatement.
He sat down in the mess hall, dinner tray in front of him laden with the latest creations from the Atlantis chef and her staff. He rubbed his hands together eagerly as he gazed upon the freshly baked (and still warm) honey bread, the creamy soup made with a cousin of the rutabaga, the baked roku with rice that tasted like honest-to-god turkey, and a slice of chocolate cake so rich it would stave off his hypoglycemia for days.
The first bite, and every one after that, had the overwhelming taste of lemon.
A/N: Recubo en Citrus is horribly derived from Latin and means "To Lie in Citrus"