There was a time, approximately a year or two ago, when Rodney would have woken up on this particular day without recalling any particular significance about it. However, things had changed, and in fact he had spent a week or so frittering about this particular day. In the end, it all came to naught, or as close to naught as you could get - did a rather pathetic collection of wildflowers count as a bouquet? Rodney didn't know. He'd hidden it, anyway, to give to Jill when he woke up.
Apparently the island had other ideas, for when he woke up, he found himself covered in petals. The whole bed was covered in petals. Rose petals, to be exact, and the sheets were deep red silk and the pillows had turned heart-shaped. Rodney sat up, brushing petals off himself, wondering if he really slept so deeply that Jill could go and change the sheets and sprinkle petals everywhere without waking him up, and when had she turned so romantic anyway? But when he saw her fast asleep next to him, and covered in petals as well, he reevaluated the situation.
"Thank you, Island," he drawled sarcastically to the empty room. As if he'd needed help with this. All right, so he had, but...
Jill didn't stir. He decided to take advantage of the situation, and slipped out of bed, dressing quietly. He left a note just in case, then he went up to the Compound, and he was actually pleased to find it decorated similarly. He was even more pleased to discover the chocolates and candy.
He returned with a dozen red roses and half a dozen chocolate boxes under his arm, whistling cheerfully. He had never liked this holiday - pointless and stupid and commercialized, designed to make single people feel like crap - until now.
Rodney was trying to stay optimistic about Teyla's disappearance, but optimism was as alien a word in Rodney McKay's dictionary as creationism. Suffice it to say, he wasn't pulling it off too well. In fact, he had spent most of the day sulking, Sheppard-style, and then he ate himself into a sleepy stupor by early evening and slept until about 3am.
To his credit, he waited until the sun came up to go to Jill's. He'd actually completely forgotten about her in the wake of Teyla's disappearance, or maybe a part of him was dreading going there in case he found her gone, too.
No wonder John had reacted so badly. Whenever someone disappeared, it was like a reminder of how temporary their so-called 'permanent' situation was. How anybody and everybody you cared about could be gone tomorrow, just like that, and you wouldn't be able to do anything about it. He wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
On the walk there, he hadn't even noticed the absence of snow, so caught up in his own thoughts. He was frowning and chewing on the inside of his cheek by the time he got to Jill's door, and it took considerable courage for him to raise a fist and knock instead of running away, but he did it. Somehow.
Please don't be gone, too, he thought desperately. That would just be bad luck as well as extremely unfair. He'd have to take brooding lessons from Sheppard.
The amount of file-swapping that had gone on between Rodney McKay and Carson Beckett was ridiculous. Rodney had never been a great team player, but it was Carson, and dare he think it - he was the only other person on the island he trusted with this sort of thing.
The last exchange had been a few days ago. The large file Rodney had been working on? It was cracked now, and mostly translated, and all that remained was for them to go over it again.
No matter how many times he did, it said the same thing.
Athosians. Teyla's people. Michael had been experimenting on them.
Feeling sick to his stomach - and not just because he hadn't eaten all day - Rodney left his hut and wandered up to the Compound, tablet under his arm because he couldn't look at it anymore. He needed to talk to Carson. Then - oh, God - he needed to talk to Teyla.
This wasn't good. This was so far away from good it had gone through bad and come out the other side into terrible.
And there was nothing any of them could do about it.
He made a beeline for the clinic, and as soon as he spotted Carson he walked straight over to him and thrust the tablet in his face. "Tell me this doesn't say what I think it says," he said, in a low voice.
He'd never ever wished this hard to be wrong before in his life.
The more time Rodney spent on Michael's computers, the less he liked what he saw. Downloading as much information as he could to his laptop and tablet was the first step, which he'd accomplished fairly early on, and now came the arduous task of translating it. He'd considered enlisting Carson's help in deciphering some of the medically-oriented data, but he really didn't have much yet beyond the bare minimum as far as facts went.
Dates, mostly. Subjects. Species. Genetic profiles. And none of it looked good.
Since his talk with Jill, Rodney had tried to make a little more time for her, but he wasn't very good at making time for anything except eating when he was working on a project like this. He brought his laptop to the Compound and ate with it on the kitchen table, ignoring any crumbs that might make their way into the keyboard, or he brought stuff back with him to New Atlantis. This was what he had done today, in fact, and he sat out behind Teyla's hut on the ground with his back propped up against the examination table. None of the stuff had been moved, at his request, though at night he covered the computers with tarps. Just in case.
A cable led from his laptop to the larger of the databanks, and a half-finished banana was clutched in his hand as he stared at the screen. More translation. This time of a little project Michael had titled IRATUS-1. One of the earlier, less-successful projects, from what he'd gathered. The folder wasn't nearly as large as some of the others, which made it a good place to start really getting into it.
He didn't even look up when he heard footsteps.
After his run-in with Not-Sheppard (thank God it wasn't evil Not-Sheppard, that would have been even worse) Rodney McKay was in what could only be described as a foul mood. Oh, sure, his plans weren't completely ruined but it was as close as it could get and it was all Sheppard's fault. Forget the island and its weirdness, Rodney was going to place the blame squarely on John's shoulders.
As soon as he found him.
He was too annoyed, even, to work on the helicopter, so he left New Atlantis and stomped up to the Compound, muttering under his breath all the way, and after embarassing himself and several people by staring intently at them trying to work out if they were John Sheppard (he couldn't just ask, that would sound weird) he stomped all the way back again, still muttering.
"All his fault...stupid...getting switched just as I...and it was going to be...damn it!" he shouted loudly, to the island at large, as he stubbed his toe on a trailing root. Swearing, he grabbed at his foot, hopping up and down in pain before falling on his ass and groaning in even more pain.
This was not a good day.
A week, Rodney McKay had decided, was not a sufficient amount of time in which to plan a truly spectacular date. In fact, the date he had planned was merely spectacular, in his own humble opinion. Granted, he hadn't exactly gotten the idea on his own - he'd seen a blonde woman tugging a man out of the Compound the other day carrying a picnic basket, and that had given Rodney his Spectacular Idea: he'd make Jill a picnic! They would have it under the stars, on the beach...except the sand would get everywhere...maybe near one of the waterfalls, then, but no, there was still the sand problem. And the water problem. He also considered New Atlantis, but what if Ronon or John started trying to butt in? Or, even worse, Carson? The last time Carson had tagged along during one of his dates had been, quite frankly, traumatizing. For both of them.
In the end, he decided to do the
lazy chivalrous thing and offer Jill the choice of location. He already had the food, and that was something, right? He'd also manage to acquire, through dubious means, a bottle of island-made fruit wine. He wasn't sure if it was any good, but it was the thought that counted, right? Right.
The clothes box, for once, hadn't been too difficult. Rodney managed to make it give him a short-sleeved button-up shirt of a nicely heterosexual blue color and a pair of black dress pants that looked good but really rode up in the - anyways, paired with the shiny black shoes he'd managed to find, his outfit looked good. By his standards. He had absolutely refused to ask Sheppard's advice on what to wear. He might have searched his hut looking for hair gel while he was out, however.
It was a nervous Rodney that showed up on Jill's doorstep, holding a bouquet of freshly-picked island flowers in one hand with a picnic basket draped over his arm, his free hand smoothing back his hair before lifting to knock, just once.
God, he hoped he wasn't going to make a total fool of himself.
[For Jill, dated to May 30th/31st? Ish.]
After meeting Sheppard's crazy meditating NSA-employed counterpart, Rodney was...well, he wasn't sure what he was. Confused. Annoyed, probably. And maybe a little upset. After all, having Sheppard - or someone who looked like Sheppard - point a gun at his face was more than a little unsettling. It'd reminded him unpleasantly of the circumstances of his arrival, and he definitely didn't want to be reminded of that unless he wanted nightmares. Which he didn't.
He was currently on his way back to New Atlantis to try and find Sheppard to tell him there was a guy with his face now running around and that he also seemed to be much smarter, if also a smidge crazier. Yes, Rodney was going to gloat. He was the only Rodney McKay on the island. He had that over John, at least. Even if he didn't have a frigging Charlie's Angel for a girlfriend.
That reminded him...but no. He wasn't going to think about Jill right now. He was on a mission. A mission to find Sheppard, and that had to be him up ahead, with the hair (looking suspiciously flat, but maybe he'd just run out of gel) and the walk like he owned the place.
"Hey!" he called, jogging to catch up. "Wait up!" He drew alongside Sheppard, panting. "I've...got something...to tell you."
It was later on in the afternoon and Rodney's head hurt. Not just from the multiple knocks it had taken today, but from the sheer amount of emotional crap that had come out. Seriously, he'd had no idea Sheppard was even capable of feeling such...feelings, but he had and he'd been very...vocal about it.
So had Rodney, come to think of it.
McKay groaned and put his head in his hands. He was back in New Atlantis, not exactly hiding and not running away either. Sheppard was off...somewhere and Rodney had absolutely no desire to go and talk to him, at least until his mouth stopped blurting his deepest and darkest truths independent of his brain. So he sat near the ZPM with his laptop and his console, not actually doing anything with either because he was afraid that, in this state of mind, he might mess up, and then dinosaurs would come thundering through the trees and eat him.
Actually, maybe that wasn't such a bad idea...
It was almost too much to take in at once. It was a good thing Rodney was a genius, or he might not have absorbed any of it. As it was, he was getting there.
As far as he understood it, he was on a weird island populated by people from varying dimensions, realities and universes, not to mention dinosaurs, tigers, monkeys, elephants and mummy-infested Indian temples; an island that tended to mess with its occupants by turning them into women for a day or switching their consciousness with another person's, spiking the punch, the chocolate and the cheese and apparently the water, oh, and by the way, there was no Stargate and pretty much no hope of escape.
At least he wasn't inside Sheppard's head any more. Being stuck here was a far better alternative to that.
He'd debated hooking the laptop Sheppard had given him up to the ZPM to try to boost the wireless signal and send a message out, but he had been assured that this was impossible and had probably been tried before - by him, no less. That was the weirdest part. An alternate him had been here before for a year, and he'd actually managed to make friends, not to mention a girlfriend who was Cameron Freakin' Diaz. Oh, sure, Sheppard was going out with Drew Barrymore, but Cameron Diaz, now that was the jackpot.
And Carson was alive and well and married to Jennifer Lopez.
He still wasn't sure how to feel about that. He was kind of trying to avoid him, because really, telling someone and their wife that they were supposed to be dead was not the sort of thing Rodney was good at. Of course, Sheppard hadn't brought it up again, which Rodney was grateful for. He didn't want to explain that it'd been his fault in the first place.
Right now, Rodney was trying not to think about his situation or the fact he would be living in a tent for the forseeable future. Apparently it was usually a hut, which didn't make it any better, but at least he had his prescription mattress.
He was currently sitting on it, tapping away at his laptop, designing a program that would improve the power output of the ZPM by six percent and keep it active for at least an extra three months. It wasn't much, but it was something.
And it wasn't like he had anything else to do.