A/N: Lots of thanks to my beta The Wishyles! All remaining mistakes are mine!
In the trash dumpster
"It's disgusting in here." McKay curled his lip as he looked around the trash dumpster where he and Ronon were hiding.
"I've hidden in worse places." Anyone else would have been boasting, or being sarcastic, but this was Ronon. For him it was just a fact.
Nevertheless McKay didn't believe him given the stinking surroundings, "Really?" To emphasize his doubt, he pushed away an amputated arm, already covered with maggots. For him a trash dumpster full of hospital waste was a challenger for the title "ugliest place ever".
Ronon ignored McKay listening instead to the sounds outside the dumpster.
"Name one example. Where is uglier than here?" With a fast, silent move the warrior put his hands over McKay's mouth. McKay tried to struggle in reflex to the sudden move, but then, trusting his team mate, held still. On signalling Ronon he understood Ronon let go.
Voices came closer, laughing and joking. McKay didn't understand what they were saying but he could hear someone near the dumpster. Ronon had his blaster ready to shoot and McKay released the safety catch of his pistol, his eyes fixed on the dumpster's lid which didn't open. The voices faded and when there were no more sounds, McKay let out a deep sigh, "Hey, that was lucky!"
Ronon put away his weapon before shaking his head, "Nah."
"I beg your pardon? They didn't catch us! That means, we won't be executed. That again means, as I see it, we've been lucky."
"They weren't after us."
"Then who was it?" McKay asked.
"Hospital employees. I think they locked the dumpster."
McKay jumped up in panic, bumping his head. He tried to prise open the lid, but wasn't able to. "Oh no, they locked us in here! Now… now…"
"Calm down." Ronon searched for a weak spot.
"Calm down? We're gonna be handed over to our murderers and I should calm down?"
"They didn't know we're in here."
McKay breathed deeply and sat down. "Wait a moment. If they don't know we're in here, why would they lock the dumpster?"
"So the waste won't attract animals."
McKay jumped up a second time, this time careful of his head. "Ah, there aren't any rats, are there?"
"I thought you liked rats. You're always playing with the lab animals."
"First: they are mice. Second: I don't play with them, I'm just observing them, scientifically. Third: I don't have anything against rats as long as they are clean and not crawling in waste and covered in germs."
Ronon shrugged and kicked against the spot in the dumpster's wall, that looked weaker. But wasn't. He took his blaster aiming it at the wall, but McKay seized his arm, before he could shoot. "Are you insane? You could ignite the rubbish!"
"Yeah. You're probably right." The warrior spun his blaster before holstering it and sitting down on the floor.
Doubled over – the dumpster was too small to stand upright – McKay paced along the length of the dumpster. Back and forward.
"Stop it and sit down!"
McKay stopped wondering if he dared provoke Ronon by ignoring him. He didn't like tight spaces and the walking prevented him from thinking too much about the narrowness. Finally he sat down on a dry, fairly clean spot.
Ronon seemed to guess the scientist's thoughts, "Sheppard and Teyla will get us out soon."
McKay nodded and watched the sunlight shining through tiny holes in the dumpster. "At least it won't be dark for another three hours."
"Afraid of the dark?"
"Of the things you can't see in the dark." He pointed at the syringes and used bandages. One of the bandages was soaked with yellowish-green pus. He closed his eyes, "You've really hidden in uglier places?"
"Yep." Ronon wasn't interested in talking. He was completely reliant on his ears and was listening to each single noise. He noticed each rustle of the leaves, each gust of wind, each chirping. If someone came closer, he would know.
"Tell me." McKay wasn't sure if he really wanted to hear it, but he didn't feel well, so a diversion would be good.
Ronon considered just ignoring McKay and concentrating on the noises beyond the dumpster. He looked at the scientist sitting on the floor on the other side of the dumpster, with half-closed eyes and bent legs.
"I hid in a manure pit once."
McKay waited curiously for the story but Ronon said nothing more. "Was it when you were a runner?"
"No. As a child."
"Why? You hid because of your parents?"
"Why should I hide because of my parents?"
"Just could've been… Don't make me have to worm every word out of you!"
"Was with friends on a foreign planet. We almost noticed the Bola Kai too late. There was no way to escape. So we climbed into a manure pit and survived."
McKay scratched with his fingernail at the metal floor. "You aren't exactly a brilliant story teller."
"I said everything important," Ronon said seriously.
"And where else have you hidden? – You said uglier places, plural," McKay added when Ronon looked at him questioningly.
The warrior thought for a minute and then counted with his fingers, "There was the abattoir refuse, the sewer, the chemical store, and once between dead comrades. All of that happened when I was a runner."
"And what about the stories?"
"I told you. That was when I was a runner."
McKay continued scratching at the floor, till he could see shining metal. "You once told me about a fight with a Wraith in graphic detail. From the breaking jaw to the last gasp."
"I have to concentrate on the surroundings." Ronon turned away from the scientist.
"So? I rather think you're embarrassed because you, the big, brave warrior, had to hide." There was no answer except a frightening snort. McKay leant against a dumpster wall. It was sticky and dirty, but he didn't care anymore. "The sewer and the chemical storage didn't count."
"What?" Ronon asked irritated.
"Those places are less ugly than here."
"You weren't there," Ronon grumbled.
"But I've been in chemical stores. And you know what, I've even been in a sewer!"
"Yeah, who hasn't been. But this sewer was really bad. The people on the planet threw everything in the sewer. And I mean, everything." Ronon sighed deeply and pointed at the hospital waste. "Compared to that place this is a children's playground."
"Okay. And the chemical store?"
"Ssh, I think I hear steps."
The Canadian stayed silent for a moment and listened. "Nope, nothing. So, the store?"
Ronon sighed, stroked his weapon affectionately and sighed again. "That's none of your business."
The scientist grinned, "What? Are you ashamed to tell me about it?"
"There's nothing to be ashamed of! It's just… I don't like chemicals. They're incredibly unfair."
"Ooookay. Unfair, you say. I see."
"Yeah, damned unfair! Chemicals kill in a concealed, quiet and deceitful manner."
"Contrary to your blaster, which kills loud and bluntly. Hmm, from what you've told me you're afraid of chemicals rather than thinking chemical stores are ugly."
"I'm not afraid of them, I just have respect for them," the warrior tried to reason, "I think they're ugly because it always smells strange there."
"It smelled strange there? Are you serious? That's the reason why it was uglier than here?" McKay split his sides laughing. Not even the intimidating look of the warrior could stop him. Only when someone tried to lift the dumpster lid, McKay became serious again and pulled out his gun.
"Don't worry, guys, it's us!" Sheppard called. Teyla helped him to prise open the lid. With a sick face she wrinkled her nose and turned away.
The colonel also needed to get used to the sight and smell, "Uh, McKay, don't you feel well? What did you find to laugh about in here?"
"Oh, that's a long story…"