By Kate Carter

Disclaimer: "Stargate: Atlantis" is not mine. Because if it were, I'd be going to a college with an equine program and driving, oh, I dunno, a 2004 Acura or something (I don't believe in buying entirely new cars). Not a college where the only equine on campus is the skeleton in the ag building's library, and a 1990 Mazda 626 with 213,000 miles and counting.

Inspired by the lovely labs the ROTC program I'm in always has. And what we end up doing most of the time (well, it seems like it, anyways).

Rodney McKay knew that patience was a virtue.

It just happened to be a virtue he didn't possess.

That's why he liked his science. Either something happened, or it didn't. You didn't have to sit around twiddling your thumbs hoping it would happen eventually.

And he had never realized that you had to have a LOT of patience when you were in the military.

Granted, he wasn't really in the military. Which he was thankful for. Physical training runs around the city at six in the morning weren't really his thing, and he only went when Sheppard (and usually Ronan with him) hauled him out of bed and forced him. He'd really been drafted, which was weird, because he'd been drafted into the U.S. military, and he was Canadian. Huh. How did that work?

Oh. Right. Because he had gotten himself involved with this top-secret Stargate program and had wound up being shipped off by the U.S. military to Russia, and Antarctica, and the Pegasus Galaxy. Although, granted, he volunteered for the last one, but it's not like he would have said no; seriously, an entire city full of alien technology to explore? It's like taking a four-year-old to the world's biggest toy store and telling them they can have whatever they want.

Right. Patience.

McKay had discovered that you really needed it sometimes.

He was currently lying on his stomach on the ground, watching a clearing that some Wraith may or may not be coming through on their way to a base which may or may not exist.

He shifted and wriggled a bit. "McKay! Stay still!" Sheppard growled from a few feet away, where he was also lying on the ground.

"There's a rock poking me in the stomach!" McKay whispered back, in his "I'm irritated and injured" tone. He fished it out and threw it off into the woods.

Instantly, Ronan popped up from the bushes he was hiding behind on the other side of the clearing they were watching. Sheppard got to his knees and waved him back down. Then he turned to McKay.

"Rodney," he said quietly, obviously irritated. "Don't you think that when you're waiting for the bad guys to come along, you shouldn't throw rocks?!"

Rodney grumbled a bit, but didn't say anything. It was possible Sheppard had a point.

It was only another couple minutes before he groaned very slightly and rolled over onto his side. Sheppard glared at him. "Now what?" he hissed.

"Do you know what this is doing on my back?" McKay retorted. "I'm going to have to spend at least an hour in a very hot bath."

Sheppard groaned. "Now there's a mental image I didn't want," he said, covering his face with his hands.

"And I'm getting hungry," McKay whispered, his irritation growing. "I thought you got doughnuts on a stakeout."

"Wrong kind of stakeout, Rodney." Sheppard glared at him, then sighed. He stood up, shaking his head as he did so. "Ronan, Teyla, come on," he called to their other team members. "I don't know if they're here or not, but we can't stick around." He glared at Rodney. "Some of us don't have enough patience to last ten minutes."

A/N: This is strongly inspired by (and was, for the most part, mentally written during) my military science lab last week. Every time we were about to move on to a new activity, we were spread around doing guard duty for a few minutes first while whichever cadet was in charge of it was completely briefed. So, I spent a lot of time lying on my stomach, with nothing to do but contemplate how boring it was and how badly it was wrecking my (previously injured) back. But hey, at least this time, it was nice weather, and I wasn't lying in mud or a nice patch of poison ivy (yeah…true…I did that a couple weeks ago. It was a battle drill, and I had to be in a hurry, so I threw myself down on the ground and only realized a couple minutes later when I began to really look around that I was smack-dab in the middle of a huge patch of poison ivy).