Thanks to Madison by Amarra [PG-13

Summary: So Rodney didn't hate kids directly anymore; they were, after all, just kids. For Picfor1000 on Lj. Kid!Fic

Characters: Rodney McKay

Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Character Study

Warnings: Adult themes

Word count: 1060;

Completed: Yes

Note: The element given to me with the Challenge was water, don't ask me how I got from there to this piece. Betaed by the lovely Fledge, all remaining mistakes are my own.

Going through space gates was easy because problems usually appeared not in space, (except for the occasional near collision with Wraith darts or rocks) but as soon as they flew lower and breached the atmosphere.

It was the same this time, complete with another of the famous, not so soft landings.

The jumper wasn't really broken, Rodney explained; the ship had just powered down because of a strange shield similar to the one on the planet of the kids.

Well, not exactly like on the kids' world, because this shield was just producing interference that had brought down their jumper, and once Rodney had had the chance to make a minor adjustment to its energy source they would all be back in Atlantis by dinner time.

But first he had to play nice with the Elders to find out where they stored their shield generator; then he had to share a small wooden boat with a totally incompetent fool with very bad breath, his two fussing children AND Ronon to even take a look at the device; and really, as if that, and Sheppard's stupid grin as he had waved goodbye from the shore, wouldn't have been enough reasons to be grumpy, no, of course the two little boys had to cling to Rodney all the way across the lake.

All these annoying, not to forget loud children who spent their days smearing dirt all over important equipment while wailing for their mothers - or while taking pleasure in ruining potential scientific geniuses by making them all motherly and homely – were just not his cup of tea; or coffee.

Rodney disliked kids, never had been good at dealing with them, but gave up his chocolate and soldiered on bravely.

Fine, he had vowed to be patient. To be better with kids for the next time he would meet Madison, and she was pretty smart for a four year old. And she really was the only reason that kept Rodney from kicking Ronon, who grinned like a loon, and the two kids over the rim of the boat. Her, and that he probably wouldn't have been able to kick Ronon overboard to begin with, without going in too.

So he didn't hate kids directly anymore; they were, after all, just kids.

Small, innocent and unknowing kids who saw the world with big eyes and curious hands – he could relate to that completely.

What he couldn't relate to was the way one of the Elders had ripped the two little boys Rodney had been with for the whole torturous afternoon out of the nutshell of a boat as soon as they had landed back at the beach.

"What's going on?!" He demanded to know as soon as he rejoined his team, and it was pretty damn clear what was going on from thereon.

The Wraith had noticed their appearance, or had been planning something for a while; that didn't matter. The important point was that they were attacking the village, having come through the space gate.

"Each population follows a unique strategy of survival, Dr McKay..." The Elder explained as the first darts came into sight. The shield flickered at the first shots and Rodney and his team watched in horror as the children were shoved out of the village by their parents without so much as a goodbye.

Rodney couldn't shut up about that, because he didn't hate children enough just to leave them, even if it annoyed him to no end when the dirty little fingers grabbed for his vest or hung onto the folds of his pants as he raced across the field to pick them up. Those heartless bastards had sent their boys forward, out of the settlement which was still shielded and into the open fields. They only kept a few of the little girls too, to ensure their future population; the others were expendable.

"... Some may look strange to those outside the community..."

Every little boy was sent out to be nothing but a scapegoat for his insane parents, who cowered in their pathetic settlement, believing in the security of a ten thousand year old shield generator.

They were still just kids, God damn it!

And Rodney had seen that the generator really was anything but able to hold up to a full blown attack; the interference had been the best sign of that fact. This was so God-damned stupid he lacked the actual words to complain about it.

No fight, not even the smallest attempt.

"... But no matter the means, their long term goal is the same;"

Sheppard left the others huddled behind a rock, running ahead to get the jumper ready and over to their location while Teyla and Ronon secured the area. Rodney just sat there with as many of the little children as they had been able to collect.

The others end up in the darts, and their screams end far too abruptly.

The children they saved are silent in shock and paralysed by fear, clinging to Rodney's arms while Teyla stands helplessly above them to give cover.

They can't do a thing to stop what's going on.

And Rodney decides he hates this helplessness more than anything else in this fucking galaxy.

His own parents had been totally incompetent but at least able to feel the basic instincts of protecting the lives of their young before their own – something he would have thought every human being capable of.

Seemingly, human instincts are different in Pegasus. Rodney is not. He is long past the stage of childish innocence or paralysis the kids feel; he can defend himself. If his people don't act in this stupid galaxy, then nobody else will, and it's time for them all to understand it too.

The Wraith suddenly concentrate on the village and the jumper takes off. Nobody looks back, knowing that Rodney was right in his prognosis.

"...Survival."

Rodney dislikes kids.

But sometimes he hates their parents even more.