Of Coffee and Balconies by AndromedaMarine

Fifteen years on Atlantis. Fourteen years married to Elizabeth Weir. Twenty seven years addicted to coffee. Eleven years on balconies. Of the four statistics Rodney McKay liked to list, coffee and balconies were the ones paid most attention to. Of course, his marriage to Elizabeth should have been in there, but he saw the balcony as his marriage. The balcony was their peace and quiet – their haven. When a member of the expedition died they would be there, on the balcony. The balcony had been where Rodney proposed. The balcony was where they were when Elizabeth told her husband she was pregnant. And the balcony was where Rodney was when he got word that Lieutenant-Colonel Lorne had been killed off-world.

Elizabeth had gone on a mission with Colonel Lorne's team and General Sheppard four days ago. Rodney drank coffee and stayed awake for thirty-six hours until Radek tapped him on the shoulder and defiantly pointed at the door of the lab. Rodney slept for maybe seven hours and repeated the cycle of caffeine-induced wakefulness. The coffee then had been his spouse, although it didn't have the same pleasing qualities his wife did. So, on the balcony, when the message came that Lorne had died, Rodney (in the shock that followed) dropped his trusty coffee mug into the Atlantean sea. He and Colonel Lorne had become almost as close of friends as he was with John Sheppard – so when he dropped his mug his daughter knew something was wrong.

The thirteen year old girl named Maléna was leaning against the door to the balcony when her father dropped his mug. Immediately she became alert, knowing something was wrong. "Dad? Are you okay?" she asked, stepping onto the Lantean veranda. The scientist's shoulders were shaking and his head was dropped. She came next to him and saw the tears. "Oh my god, Dad! What happened? Is mom okay?"

Slowly Rodney nodded, indicating that Maléna's mother was fine. "Evan," was all he said and immediately Maléna knew that her father's friend, her uncle – was gone. Maléna too began to cry and her earpiece crackled (as all expedition members' did when a wormhole was activated).

"Incoming wormhole," Chuck announced. "McKays to the gateroom."

Rodney and his daughter left the trusted balcony and the coffee mug (now the ocean's) and went to the gateroom. He embraced his wife with teary eyes. They had lost another team member, and the balcony was where they'd be.

If Rodney had to choose between coffee and balconies, he'd take the balcony.