He was up in the air in the middle of the room, his legs angled upwards, one hand holding tight onto the edge of the console in the middle of the wall, the other tapping hard at the controls trying to pry the right response from the ship.
He muttered to himself and ignored Sam as she floated toward him in mid air on her back, her hair falling down towards the floor, from where it had been placed in a perfect ponytail. The console screen stopped her slow movements and she bounced back a little, smiling.
"I can't get the gravity back online."
"Let me see."
"I can handle it thank you." He pushed her aside and she had to grab onto the consoles edge to stop from floating away and into another wall.
"Sorry," he mumbled, "but I can handle this." She clawed her way back to him, nudging him and looking at the screen.
"The circuit is probably damaged, that's all," she said, pointing to a red square on the screen.
"I can't see why," he said, still not looking at her. "That part of the ship wasn't even fired at. In fact that's the only side of the ship that's affected."
"Energy overload." She said, shrugging. "Only one way to find out." She smiled and did a somersault through the air, before pushing off the wall towards the opposite end of the room. She pressed the lit panel on the door and turned to Rodney as it opened with a swishing sound. "Coming?" she asked, eyes all innocent, grinning at him.
"You're enjoying weightlessness too much if you ask me." She didn't reply, grabbing either side of the door frame and pulling herself through instead. He followed her as they floated their way through the corridors to where the gravity circuits were housed in another part of the almost shipwrecked Daedalus. It had already taken them a day of floating around in orange space suits to get the life-support back online, stripping off the claustrophobic suits as soon as they could and sleeping for a few hours in the puddlejumper. All they wanted to do was get the ship back to Atlantis, so full repairs could be completed, but being caught in the crossfire between the Wraith and Asurans had caused more damage than they had initially though. Sam was sure the gravity wasn't the only thing they were going to have problems with.
"When you were a kid, you wanted to be a pianist," Sam said, not looking behind her to check that he was following as they pulled their way along.
"Of course," she said, trying to play it down, "when I was a kid this is what I wanted to do." There was a sigh in her voice as she rolled onto her back and stopping to smile at him. "I always wanted to go into space."
"Oh." He smiled back, and continued to pull forward, floating over her and past her, their bodies brushin.
"McKay," she warned.
"Sorry, but all this floating is making me nauseous."
"We'll sort it out," she said, softly. She turned to follow him.
"Plus it brings back... memories."
They turned a corner, Sam almost colliding into him, when she failed to slow down.
"Oops." She grinned at him and he couldn't quite figure out what was going on, why she was being so nice to him.
"Cute," he muttered. "It reminds me of being trapped in a the puddlejumper."
"With your own subconscious."
"Except, there's no water and I'm not wearing blue underwear."
"How did you know?"
"Sheppard." She tried not to laugh. "I am wearing pink underwear though." She pulled herself around the corner and pushed hard off the wall, floating fast down the corridor past him.
"You're - what, wait," he moved to catch up with her, "wait, are you flirting with me? Is that flirting?"
"Nearly there, McKay," she called back to him, laughing.
He caught up to her at the next door and shoved her aside to open it, if that's how she wanted to play, then fine, he could, play, too. She floated through first, and straight across the opposite side and checked the console there. McKay grabbed her arm and pushed himself down to the floor to open up a panel on the floor.
He let the grey panel float away from him and Sam joined him, hovering next to the ground.
"Erm," she started.
"I think it's a gerbil."
"Looks like a tribble." Sam looked at him and laughed, "you know, from Star Trek."
"I know." She reached to touch it, but Rodney snapped his hand out and grabbed her hand.
"What are you doing?"
"Picking it up."
"It could bite you!"
"It's a gerbil! Look at the size of it, even if it did bite me, I'm sure a band-aid would be enough."
"I think it's a guinea pig." He ducked closer to get a better look.
"Maybe it is a tribble."
"Funny." She smiled and reached out again, taking hold of the white ball of fluff hiding in the wall and pulling it out.
"Do you think it's safe to let it float about?"
"No, McKay," she said. "Hold it while I look at the circuits."
"I'll look at the circuits, and you can hold the tribble." She snorted and he stopped, he'd made her laugh, and that fact stunned him for a minute. She moved aside and Rodney shone his flashlight onto the circuits. "I think our little friend has been chewing the wires."
"Must've been when the power was out," Sam held the guinea pig to her chest, "or he'd be dead."
"Nothing I can't fix," he said emphasizing the I.
"Then I'll leave you to it and find somewhere to put the tribble." She pushed down on the floor with one hand and floated up into the air, leaving Rodney room to work. Clutching the animal to her chest still she left the room.
He had opened up a little more of the wall, two more panels on either side and had wedged himself into the gap, to reach some of the circuits further back, that the guinea pig had decided to chew on too. He was grumbling again, muttering to himself about guinea pigs with sharp teeth and tribbles, when Sam's voice came over the radio to him. He had to fight his way out of the space, as Sam repeated his name over and over, even asking if he was okay.
"I'm fine," he said. "I'm nearly done."
"I need you here."
"I'll be there in five minutes."
"Now, McKay, before you fix the gravity," she ordered.
"Fine," he grumbled. "Where are you?"
"Two floors up, one of the storage lockers." She paused. "Number seven."
"I'm on my way."
He floated through the corridors and up the service hatches and found storage locker seven. He opened the door, and wasn't sure whether to laugh or close the door again.
In the large storage room, Sam Carter was floating around, the white guinea pig they had found in the wall in her hands, surrounded by what looked like another two dozen balls of fluff of various colours.
"No, guinea pigs." She laughed, despite the annoyed look on her face moments before. He started to laugh too, floating around into the the room, guinea pigs bouncing off him, which made Sam laugh harder. "Okay, okay," she laughed out, "help me get them back into their cages." He looked past her to see the cages at the back of the room, all the doors open.
"Who brings guinea pigs to another galaxy?"
"They should be on the manifest, we'll check once we get them back into their cages." She was still fighting giggles and when Rodney starting floating around the room, catching the little balls of fur, she started to laugh harder.
"Are you gonna help?" he asked, laughing, trying to look serious.
"I'm helping," she squeaked through the laughter, pushing herself off the wall. She floated into him, hitting him, and letting go of the guinea pig she was holding. She held onto him while she laughed some more, and he smiled at her, amused,
"Colonel?" he said, "The tribbles are escaping." He had to wriggle out of her grasp - and couldn't believe that he did - to close the door to stop the guinea pigs escaping.
"If they were tribbles, we'd be up to our ears in fur right about now," Sam said, as she grinned and caught a guinea pig, turning around and putting it into one of the cages and closing the door.
"Might be better to sleep on than those horrible benches in the puddlejumper," he said.
"When you fix the gravity we can sleep on the ship tonight," she said, "when we've caught up all the guinea pigs."
"Tribbles." She smiled and caught another, putting it into a cage.
"Apparently there were thirty tribbles on the manifest, though it doesn't say why." McKay said, reading from the screen. "Brought aboard by one of the new guys, a Dr. Mellan, don't know him, must be a biologist, hmmmm." He trailed off and Sam smiled at him. They were sitting down in the small mess of the ship, eating what was left of the undamaged food. Considering that he'd felt nauseous from the weightlessness, Rodney was doing a good job of eating a large pile of potatoes, Sam thought.
"I hope they're not planning to experiment on them."
"Well why else would they be brought to Atlantis for?" he asked, frowning at her.
"You can be so dumb sometimes."
"I thought that's what you liked about me."
"No, I said, I have a weakness for dumb blonde's. I like you because you're hot."
"Thanks, I think."
"Oh, that was definitely a compliment, but I still think you're dumb."
"I just like animals, okay? You're so annoying McKay."
"I thought you found me more attractive when I was annoying."
"I think you'll find I found you more attractive when I hated you."
"Oh yes, that's right, but you did kiss me."
They sat in their seats on the bridge looking at each other, waiting for the other to say something. Anything.
"You've changed," she said, snapping before he did, angering herself a little, "I don't think you're an asshole any more."
"Thanks, I think."
"That was definitely a compliment." He smiled at that. "How many tribbles do we have?"
"I counted twenty-seven. They're probably dead."
"I'm surprised so many survived."
"Even if they lived, if they had been in the air when I fixed the gravity, they would've hit the floor pretty had."
"Sorry Sam, want to keep looking?"
"No, we can deal with that when everything else is fixed." He nodded, cleaning up the last of his plate and eyeing up her pie. "Don't even think about it," she said, finally taking a bite.
They were silent again as she ate, and he looked at his laptop at the rest of the impending repairs.
"Now you don't think I'm asshole, do you find me attractive?" She looked him up and down, her fork in her hand, and for a fraction of a second he thought she might stab him in the leg with it, but she smiled instead, a sexy smile that he hadn't seen before and nearly had him begging her to – well, not stab him in the leg…but begging her to do pretty much anything else to him.
"Yeah," she said, taking another piece of pie.
Rodney found he had nothing to say to that.
"How's the Daedalus coming?" Sam asked, not looking up from her laptop. Rodney stood just inside her office, smiling, waiting for her to look at him. Since they'd gotten back for their little 'weekend' in space, they hadn't had much of a chance to talk about, well, what they had talked about. Not that he thought he had the remotest chance but, still, he had to have a fantasy or two. Or thirty.
"Nearly done, Colonel Caldwell is ready to talk her back to Earth."
"Colonel Caldwell has been ready to go back to Earth for over week," she said, smiling, finally looking up at him. "What's that?" she asked, looking at the item he was trying to hide being him.
"A present." He swung it around his body to reveal a cage and a white guinea pig inside. "The tribble we found chewing the gravity circuits."
"Dr. Melon said you could have him, or her, it's really hard to tell with these things, I mean."
"Yes, sorry," placing the cage on her desk.
"It's Dr. Mellan," she told him, standing up and walking around the desk to him. She lifted up the cage and looked inside at the ball of fluff with black eyes. "And thank you." She kissed him quickly, on the lips this time and he'd wondered what he would have to give her to get her into bed. Maybe a tiger.
"Ah, well, I thought you could call it Kirk or something," he said.
"Oh please, you did not like Voyager?"
"It had it's moments."
"Yes, Seven Of Nine, but that's it."
"You know, McKay, I am not going to have this conversation with you." She picked up the cage and left him standing alone in his office, his lips burning.