Disclaimer: If you saw it on TV, it is not mine!
"Lemon custard? Orange sherbet? It's a conspiracy, I swear it is. The entire kitchen staff hates me."
Rodney McKay continued muttering as he stormed down the two short hallways from his lab to his quarters. As he reached the turn to his door, he stopped in confusion. Lieutenant Ford stood just outside his doorway, directing a group of soldiers who appeared to be stealing his stuff. Blinking rapidly, the scientist hurried over.
"What are you doing? Where are they taking my stuff? Is something wrong with my room? Oh, good grief, don't tell me something's loose in the city? Do you know how many things I happen to be allergic to? If I have to give those bozos in my department another lecture on proper handling and containment…"
"Whoa!" interrupted Ford. "Calm down, doc. It's nothing much. The major just wants the team in closer proximity. He figures it'll make it easier to keep an eye on everybody, especially after stressful missions. Let's not panic, okay?"
"Oh, uh, right."
Rodney watched for a few moments. He was not really worried about the stuff in his room as all of his important belongings were under lock and key in his lab. His quarters were just a place to sleep when he was between projects. Still, he supposed Sheppard's logic made some sense. Having the lead team in one location would also make it easier to share important information.
"Lieutenant, where is Sheppard anyway?" he asked.
"The major's in gym with Teyla. He's giving her some lessons on our weapons," Ford answered absentmindedly, focusing on his crew.
With a slight wave, Rodney headed for the gym.
Walking through the door, he caught sight of Sheppard pointing out various parts of a gun and started towards the pair. The major caught the movement out of the corner of his eye and turned to give him a grin.
"Hey, McKay," he said easily. "What's up?"
"What's up?" Rodney snorted. "Did you or did you not decide to shift my quarters, lock, stock and barrel without so much as a glimmer of warning? I only found out that I was moving when I went to get something. Suddenly I turned a corner and there are uniformed soldiers casually hauling my stuff around. There could have been any number of valuable or delicate items in there, and nobody even bothered to ask before they just went barreling through like bulls in a china shop."
As he paused to take a breath, Sheppard's grin grew impossibly wider.
"There's nothing valuable in your quarters, McKay," he stated, patting the scientist on the shoulder.
"Well, no," admitted Rodney. "But there could have been. And how do you know that anyway?"
"You keep everything valuable locked up in your lab," shrugged the major. "You'd just live in the lab if Elizabeth and I would let you."
"That's not entirely…" started the scientist.
"Wrong," finished Teyla. The Athosian smiled at him. "The major's statement is not entirely wrong. You do have a habit of becoming so involved in your projects that you forget or ignore everything else, including sleeping schedules. We often have had to pry you out in order to make sure you get an appropriate amount of rest. This is one of the reasons for placing the team closer together. We can watch out for one another better. My people often do this, quartering together, when they form hunting or trading parties."
"Well, I suppose," Rodney grumbled. "Still, it would have been nice to have been asked or even warned about the move."
"Nope," said Sheppard, eyes sparkling with mischief. "If we asked you or gave you any kind of warning, we'd probably still be arguing about it while you tried to find ways around the whole thing. The team's moving closer to my quarters."
"Your quarters?" exclaimed the Canadian in dismay. "They're practically on the opposite side of the city from the labs!"
"Yep," stated the American in satisfaction. "I get the importance of your work, especially since you haul me in to think at things so often, but you can't spend all your time in the labs. We're going to make sure of it. Teyla's people have found some good beaches, so we are going to take some down time and go sight-seeing. I'll have to see what else I can come up with."
Rodney just gaped at him. He had spent over 30 years being disliked and ignored by pretty much everyone around him. He had been set apart by his IQ and prickly personality. People had accepted the image he portrayed as the complete truth and felt justified in sly words and insults tossed around behind his back. No one had ever tried to dig beneath the surface. No one until John Sheppard.
Within days of meeting him, Sheppard had not only accepted him on the lead gate team, but he went out of his way to seek out Rodney's company. He invaded the labs, shared meals, and spent long stretches of time talking with, or listening to, the scientist. Teyla joined them fairly often, and even Ford shared meals with them. Carson and Elizabeth drifted on the outskirts, but Atlantis' lead team had definitely taken some strong steps towards being a real unit.
Sheppard waved a hand in front of his face. The grin had fallen away to be replaced by a blank look while Teyla frowned.
"Yes, yes, I'm here," replied Rodney, pushing the hand out of his face. Sheppard's eyes narrowed for a moment before a flicker of understanding flashed across them. He relaxed back into amusement.
"Just had to be sure. We can't have Atlantis' lead scientist zoning out because of a simple change of quarters. Who knows how you'd react if we had to move the city?"
Rodney began sputtering indignantly about misunderstandings, and the impossibility of moving the city. As he began to get worked up and started waving his hands around to emphasize his opinions, he could see the amused glances shared by Sheppard and Teyla. Those looks warmed him, reminiscent as they were of looks he had seen exchanged between the members of SG-1 back on Earth when Jackson would get started on one of his archeological rambles. He had finally found people who would accept him just as he was, even if they could not always understand him. They did not expect him to change or fit himself into some narrow minded view of what they thought he should be. It had taken him long years of time and even longer light years of space, but he felt like he had come home at last.