This is another story involving my newest original character, Zoe Kent, as Atlantis' resident psychologist.

Disclaimer: Only Zoe is mine, everyone else belongs to MGM and the SciFi channel.


Zoë Kent's first encounter with Rodney McKay involved a lot of broken glass and a hypodermic needle full of horse tranquilizers to the genius scientist's jugular. She's fifteen minutes into her second encounter – his first full session with her as the new psychologist in residence – and she'd give anything for another dose of horse tranquilizers. Either for him or her, she's not quite sure which is more appealing at the moment.

'You're very easy to talk to,' he says with a smile and she smiles back without really meaning to. Rodney McKay may be a pain in the ass, but he has his adorable moments.

'Thank you,' she says. 'It would be difficult to do this job if I wasn't, though.'

He nods. 'It's the same with my position.'

This makes her smile a little more widely. 'Do you think you're easy to talk to?' she asks, making it a question instead of a sarcastic comment.

He shrugs. 'I have to be, what with all the people I'm in charge of. If I wasn't easy to talk to, we'd never get anything accomplished.'

She scribbles 'delusional' on her notepad and continues to smile at him.

'How long have you worked in this field?' she asks, mostly out of curiosity.

'Most of my adult life. Jeannie and I were both science nerds back in high school, so I'd say twenty years or so.'

'Jeannie's your sister,' she says and Rodney nods. 'Tell me about her.'

'She's a housewife in Toronto,' he says and Zoë hears the slightest hint of disappointment in his tone. 'She's married to an engineer and has a daughter.'

'You don't sound happy that she chose to be a housewife.'

'I think she abandoned her dreams for a different life.'

'Her dreams or your dreams?' Zoë asks and Rodney's eyes go wide for a second. She's hit a nerve and she decides to cut him a little slack by changing the subject. She writes 'narcissistic tendencies' on her notepad before switching topics. 'You've worked with Colonel Carter before, haven't you?'

He relaxes very slightly. 'Yes. On and off for a couple of years at the SGC before I came to Atlantis. She's brilliant,' he says and it is, perhaps, the most honest Zoë has heard him be in the last half hour.

'Is it difficult working under someone you had a collaborative relationship with before?'

He thinks about it for a moment or two. 'Not really, no. We've always had this combative friendship, where she thinks she's smarter than me and I know I'm smarter than her, and I guess I worried that when she took over command her I'd be forced to ignore that.' He thinks a little more. 'Two years ago, I was trapped under the water on the original Lantean planet in a jumper. I would never have told her this, but it was Sam who helped me get out of it. Sheppard and Zelenka came to the rescue, but it was Sam who kept me sane while I waited.' He looks up at Zoë and she's a little taken aback by the vulnerability in his eyes. 'Do you think that's crazy?'

She smiles and shakes her head. 'No, Rodney, I don't think that's crazy.'

'Then what is it?'

Her smile broadens. 'I think that's friendship,' she says.

'Oh.' He grins her at her. 'It may be too personal a question, but how long have you been with Lorne?'

She bristles a little and then reminds herself that she asks these types of questions – it's inevitable that someone would turn them on her someday.

'Since shortly after the first time you and I met.'

'That would be the night when I went crazy,' he says and she nods. 'Sheppard told me you kicked my ass wearing Wonder Woman UnderRoos.' Again she nods, this time with a small smile and a little bit of a blush. 'I really wish I could remember that.'

'I'm slightly thankful you can't,' she says and he laughs.

'Major Lorne is a good man,' he says and she's yet again surprised by him. 'You could certainly do worse.'

She cocks her head to the side and regards him with a smile. 'And who would be worse?'

'Have you met Sheppard? He's a man whore…'

She can't help but laugh, so she does. Professionalism be damned.