Rodney lets her believe that the president strong-armed him into taking over her research so she can have her device back and go home.
Once, just before the divorce was final, Sam had accused him of always putting himself first. Maybe he hasn't changed as much as he'd like to think he has. Maybe he's changed more than she could ever imagine.
In the beginning it was not bad. No, it was actually pretty good in the beginning. It was like being with Jeannie. That same give and take. Getting caught up in the abstract and theoretical without having to stop to give an explanation. A meeting of the minds so intimate that she could finish his equations as fast as he could proof her theorems. But only better because there was also the sex.
Not that he's ever thought of Sam like his sister. Or Jeannie like… No, that was too weird to contemplate. Disturbing. Don't go there McKay.
He'd like to think it was the Ori that drove them apart, but that's taking the easy way out. The Ori were just the catalyst for the meltdown. There had always been that bit of friction between them, just a bit of heat. All it took was that one additional element for them to reach the combustion point. He still loved her. She just couldn't live with him any more.
There'd been one last chance to save it all. One last romp from abstract to concrete. One last opportunity for the melding of minds that, with Sam, could almost transcend the physical.
She'd asked him for his help. He'd thought she was asking him to save the world. She was, but she wasn't expecting him to do it alone.
He'd panicked. She'd exploded. The papers were finalized. He retreated to his empire. She disappeared.
Maybe he'd been scared to fail. He should have know that with her, he couldn't. She wouldn't let it happen. Even it if killed them both.
And there she was, standing at his door. Insisting his wife was dead. Ex. Wife. Asking for his help again.
It was just like in the beginning all over again. She teased, he balked. She pushed, he pushed back. Equal and reactive. As natural as the forces that held the universe together. Just like old times.
She had her own Rodney but she wasn't with him. There was somebody else. He could tell because to her, he was still McKay. And when she talked about going home there was that same look in her eyes as the first time he left on business after the wedding.
So when she asked for help this time - correct that. When this Sam asked him for help, he took the chance.
One last fling because he'll never get to say goodbye otherwise. He has the assets. He has the connections. He could put his money where his mouth was. Or whichever cliche fit best.
Rodney picks up the phone and dials. "I need to speak to the president."