Written for: The Atlantis Back to Basics Challenge, for Meredith // xfirefly9x2.

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Rodney whooped as he pierced the bright blue sky above, then swooped down low over the ocean, skimming the waves with his belly. This was awesome! The feel of the wind against his skin, cooling his sweaty flesh; the spray of the water as he flew in low, the warmth of the sun overhead. He hoped he was wearing sunscreen, because –

"Rodney!" Radek spat from somewhere nearby. "Do you mind?"

Rodney ripped the virtual reality headset off his eyes. "What?" he snapped. He blinked against the sudden brightness of the well-lit lab.

"What?" Radek said, staring at him incredulously. The man sat on the floor surrounded by hardware; the circuits and wires, which were sticking up everywhere, mirroring the state of the man's hair. Radek ran a quick hand through it, which only served to make the situation worse.

"What?" Rodney repeated, this time more slowly. He shifted where he sat on the floor, leaned his back against the desk behind him, and flexed his fingers, the casings that sheathed them making them feel heavy. He had wires from the device attached to his hands, to his feet, and to every joint in his body. The small charge they were sending made his skin tingle, and he could feel the hair on his arms as it stood on end. It was actually a pretty cool feeling.

"This needs focus," Radek said, emphasising the last word. "Otherwise…pfft."

"Dah, or whatever you say in that language of yours." Rodney said. "I know, I know."

Radek gave him a scathing look from over his glasses, and Rodney jammed the headset on his head once again. Focus, focus. Concentrate. Okay, flying seashore not working, how about….hmm…

"Rodney?" Radek asked from nearby.

"Yes, one moment, please," Rodney said, distracted. He needed something that would not fail. Something guaranteed to hold his focus.

How about, ah there you go… how about a beautiful woman, dancing sensuously in front of him, moving closer to him, beckoning… Wait, maybe less clothes, and God, he was partial to blondes ala Sam Carter, but how about if her hair was a bit longer, and… Ooh, there you go. That was great. Hips, and breasts, and through the fabric, he could just see a hint of her…

Actually, wait, maybe thinking of hot chicks while working wasn't such a great idea, and now she reminded him of Teyla –

"Rodney!"

He tore off the headset and shouted an exasperated, "What?"

Radek just stared at him. Then he gave him a pointed look, lips pursed.

Rodney raised an eyebrow. "Don't get all pissy on me."

"I am not pissy," Radek replied, twisting the last word. "But this is your fourth attempt."

"And?" Rodney asked.

Radek waved a screwdriver in Rodney's direction. "And you refused let me do this, saying you were more clear of thought. I don't think that's proving true, yes?"

Rodney rolled his eyes, but Radek was right. In order to calibrate this particular Ancient device, he was supposed to find something and remain focused on that idea. For calibration purposes, it didn't matter what he focused on, so long as he did. Otherwise, Radek couldn't get solid readings, and the device wouldn't calibrate, and the stupid thing wouldn't work when they needed it to. "All right, fine." He let out a sigh, and put the device back on his head.

He heard Radek stand and step away, and thought, good. The less of him, the better. Alone, maybe he could focus, get this damn thing done with, then lunch, and pie. Oh, god, yes. Hungry. Stomach rumbling. He could practically smell it. Apple pie, or it's Pegasus-galaxy equivalent. Cinnamon. Sugar. Butter. God.

"Very good, Rodney." That was Radek's soft voice. "Just a moment more."

Pie. Yum. He could imagine eating it. Oh, the first bite would be heaven. Maybe if he got there early enough, the slices would still be warm. And maybe there would be ice cream, or…

"There," Radek said. "Done. Thank you."

Rodney pulled off the headset with a smile. "Told you…" he started saying, when he spied John Sheppard from across the room. The man was leaning against the doorframe, plate in hand, fork standing straight up from the slice of pie resting there. Rodney's eyes moved from John to Radek.

Radek looked sheepish. "I called in reinforcements."

John stepped forward. He squatted down and held the plate out to Rodney, all casual-like. "Knew pie would probably do it," he said. He seemed to be trying to hide his smirk, but it obviously wasn't working.

Rodney knew he should be miffed, or pretend to be offended, but he took the plate hastily. Stabbing an apple with his fork, he placed it on his tongue. Apple, or, well, near-apple. Sugar. Cinnamon. Heaven.

John smiled wryly, his eyes merry.

Taking another mouthful, Rodney mumbled, "Bastard" around it.

"Yeah," John said, dipping a finger in Rodney's pie. He quickly licked it clean.

"At least he's your bastard," Radek added.

The corner of John's mouth quirked upwards, and he turned his head in the man's direction.

"I meant that he…" Radek blushed and waved the screwdriver toward the pie, turning his head down to face the equipment in his lap. "That's not quite what I meant."

"I'd imagine not," Rodney said, directing that comment to John. He then began removing the sheaths from his fingers, pulling each one off with a clearly audible 'snap'. "Anyway," he said, as he slid the covering from his last finger. "If he's my bastard, what would that make me?"

"King of the Bastards," Radek muttered.

"Hey!" Rodney shouted, as John burst out laughing.

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End.

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